Within the past decade, the number of alcohol-related automobile accidents in Brea has gone up 90%. Meanwhile, the number of drunk-driving arrests has decreased 29%.
Beginning Tuesday, Brea officials want to see those numbers drastically reversed with a new Drunk Driving Enforcement Program. Two officers on the lookout for drunk drivers will make up the program’s team, Police Chief Don Forkus said.
“We have to get them off the road,” Forkus said.
Once the officers have settled into their new jobs, the police chief said he expects to see the number of drunk-driving arrests double and possibly even triple and quadruple. Other aims of the program are to reduce the average blood-alcohol level of those arrested, to reduce alcohol-related accidents by arresting drunk drivers prior to accidents and to increase community awareness, Forkus said.
Current officers lack the training, expertise and time to detect the driver who may be under the influence of alcohol, Forkus said.
The new team will be subsidized by a $153,258 state grant, with the city matching the grant with an equal amount, Brea spokeswoman Bonnie Dwyer said.
The increase of alcohol-linked collisions in Brea can partially be attributed to the increasing number of people visiting the city, Forkus said. Ten years ago, Brea didn’t have a mall or the number of restaurants and commercial outlets it has today, he said.
In Yorba Linda, which has seen less commercial development in the past decade, the figures are much lower than Brea’s, Forkus said.