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Updated Nov 27, 2012 - 1:08 pm

Arizona launches holiday DUI task force

Hundreds of law enforcement officers gathered at the state capitol Tuesday to launch this year’s crackdown on drunk drivers.

State Highway Director Alberto Gutier said Arizona has some of the toughest DUI laws in the nation, but people keeping thinking they can beat the system.

“It’s a devastating blow to those arrested — financially — and in many cases they lose their jobs,” he said. “They spend time in jail.”

Hundreds of officers will be on the job in the cities and on the highways enforcing the zero tolerance policy for drinking and driving.

Phoenix Fire Captain and Paramedic Lisa Jones has been on numerous calls that involved crashes and deaths because of a drunk driver and will carry those memories with her for life.

“There’s nothing like it,” she said. “The domino effect it has on families who lost loved ones to the firefighters. It never ends. The things I’ve seen I will never forget. It angers us sometimes to get on scene where things could’ve been prevented.”

About 32,000 people were arrested in 2011 for DUI, with 4,000 of them arrested during the holiday season, down by about 600 arrests from 2009-10 holiday.

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