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Arizona launches holiday DUI task force

Police motorcycles are lined up during the beginning of a holiday DUI task force. (Jim Cross/KTAR)

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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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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