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Arizona DPS Director Milstead ‘looking for compliance, not enforcement’

Director or Arizona DPS Frank Milstead (Facebook Photo | AZWIN Arizona Women's Initiative Network)

PHOENIX — Yearly statistics from Arizona police show that DUI arrests have remained pretty stagnant for the past three years.

Total DUI arrests in 2018 were actually down slightly from 2017, but up by nearly 800 citations in 2016.

In 2018, 26,894 total DUI arrests were made compared to 27,644 in 2017 and 26,060 in 2018.

Director of Arizona DPS Frank Milstead told the KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce & Pamela Show on Friday that it was hard to explain why more progress isn’t being made.

“I’ve been doing this for 34 years, we have been working on it the whole time that I’ve been here,” Milstead said. “I’ve watched the presumptive level of impairment go from a .15 percent to a .08.”

As the presumptive level of impairment has decreased, the number of participating officers who helped gather the data on Arizona DUI enforcement stats has increased from 64,204 in 2016 to 81,403 in 2018. This could be part of what has evened out awareness campaigns to stop drunk driving.

Drunk driving isn’t the only problem facing DPS.

“My last two years as the Chief of Police in Mesa, our holiday DUI arrests or impaired driver arrests were outpaced by drug impaired drivers,” Milstead said.

While stricter laws, a larger police presence and the evolution of the impaired driver has complicated problems on Arizona roads, Milstead was steadfast in reiterating the goal of DPS.

“DPS gets no revenue from a citation,” Milstead said. “I’m looking for compliance, not enforcement.”

“If I’m out there and it keeps you from doing crazy things because you see the trooper, you see that silver and black car out there and that presence keeps you from driving fast or cutting somebody off or getting aggravated, that’s great. If we have compliance, we have a simpler job and then we can deal with those problems that are out there.”

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