ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona electronic warrant program speeds up DUI investigations

Nov 29, 2018, 4:30 AM | Updated: 8:49 am
(Pexels Photo)...
(Pexels Photo)
(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX — A statewide program is making it easier for law enforcement officers to go after people they suspect have been drinking and driving.

The program allows officers to electronically submit a request to get a blood sample for a DUI investigation. A judicial officer will then review the request and grant the warrant if there’s probable cause.

“It’s a great asset for police officers because it allows them to execute a blood draw immediately,” Janet Barton, a presiding judge for Maricopa County Superior Court, said.

She said it used to take several hours for the courts to process a warrant, especially in rural counties where courts aren’t open 24 hours a day. Now, she said the whole process takes several minutes thanks to the program.

“We’ve taken what was previously quite a lengthy system and turned it into a system that now takes 10-15 minutes,” she said.

The program started four years ago with police departments in Maricopa County. Two years later, the Arizona Department of Public Safety started using it for its troopers. And this year, the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety started making it available to police departments across the state.

Barton said the program not only speeds up warrant requests for officers, but also enhances public safety.

“It allows officers to get back out on the street much more quickly than if they’re tied up trying to do this manually as opposed to electronically,” she said.

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Arizona electronic warrant program speeds up DUI investigations