The California Highway Patrol is California’s largest law enforcement agency. Unlike most other states, California does not have a “State Police” agency; the CHP takes this role. The CHP’s tasks include law enforcement on all highways and roads in California, security (think ‘secret service’) for California’s governor, driver safety programs, and road safety. The single biggest law enforcement task for the CHP is DUI enforcement. The CHP’s DUI enforcement activities have several important initiatives:
-Drug Recognition training
CHP DUI enforcement through DUI Checkpoints:
The CHP has been using DUI Checkpoints since 1984 in areas known to have frequent DUI driving. DUI checkpoints are not only useful in DUI law enforcement and apprehending DUI drivers, they are useful as education and awareness tools, checkpoints for finding un-licensed drivers, and probably their most important role: Deterrence.
Saturation Patrols are beefed up CHP patrol efforts in areas that have a high incidence of DUI driving and DUI accidents. Centrally located in these areas, saturation patrol operations involve teams of CHP patrol units that coordinate their efforts to maximize their enforcement effect. Most DUI arrests that occur during CHP DUI Enforcement efforts come as a result of these saturation patrols.
Drug Recognition Initiative:
Everyone is familiar with alcohol DUI situations. But alcohol isn’t the only way someone can become too impaired to drive safely. The recent proliferation of drugs (even legal drugs like medicinal marijuana) have led to an increased incidence of drug DUI and drug DUI accidents. CHP DUI enforcement efforts in drug cases begin with training of CHP officers so that they know what to look for when dealing with suspected drug DUI offenders. This training includes spotting the physiological signs in a person’s speaking, speech and posture. The training also includes recognition of the different drugs that are commonly used and how they individually effect a person’s ability to drive safely.
CHP DUI Enforcement involves extensive training and equipment maintenance. This equipment isn’t just patrol cars and officer weapons (guns, clubs, tazers) but also the alcohol detecting and measuring equipment. PAS or Preliminary Alcohol Screening equipment consists of small, portable breathalyzer machines the officers use at the roadside. Evidential breath machines are breathalyzers that sit on a table or desk at the CHP field office. These breath detecting and measuring machines are used for CHP DUI Enforcement efforts.