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New patrol cars will be part of Highway Patrol’s DUI enforcement

PHOENIX — This year drivers might not even see officers until they’re already behind them. This year and Independence Day weekend the Arizona Department of Public Safety will be working to spot impaired drivers with new patrol cars.

DPS is testing out several different color schemes for Highway Patrol cars, which Officer Sam Chacon said is meant to make them stealthier.

“The majority of color schemes of vehicles out on the road are silvers, greys and whites, and I wanted to see if I could blend in a little more,” Chacon said, talking about his new dark-grey cruiser.

Chacon said his new patrol car is also equipped with sophisticated radar equipment, which he said can detect speeding cars from the front and back of his vehicle regardless of whether he is stationary or moving.

The director of DPS Col. Frank Milstead said besides new paint, the department is also testing out “ghost graphics” that make the department’s insignia harder for drivers to spot during the day, but at night are very visible.

“They’re very, very reflective,” Milstead said. “When you see a light hit them at night they’re very, very bright and apparent what it is … but it provides a little bit of stealth for (officers) as their cruising around.”

Milstead said the new patrol cars will be out this weekend as part of the department’s DUI enforcement efforts.

Every year the DPS, in conjunction with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and the Arizona Department of Transportation, work to stop impaired driving. However, each year around 300 or 400 Arizonans will be arrested for it, according Milstead.

He said his officers will continue to do what they can to catch drunk drivers, but only the public can actually stop it from happening.

“We as Arizonans have to put an end to this and we have to no longer have tolerance,” Milstead said. “I need you to be your friend’s designated driver; I need you to not let your friends and family decide to drive impaired.”

Milstead urged people to do their part by making arraignments for a safe ride home before heading out to holiday celebrations.