ROCKFORD (WREX) — The Rockford Police Department was recognized by the Alliance Against Impaired Motorists (AAIM) for DUI arrests.
Though “Don’t drink and drive” is a common phrase, and law, it’s one that people still break. Rockford Police say it’s their mission to find those people.
“It’s one of our top goals every year,” Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea said.
That goal has made Chief O’Shea’s officers the top department for DUI arrests, according to AAIM.
“It’s a credit to the men and women who work here,” Chief O’Shea said. “They go out and take intoxicated driving very seriously.”
For 30 years, AAIM has surveyed the number of DUI arrests in Illinois. It says in 2018, the Rockford Police Department arrested 552 people for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol – the most in the entire state.
“Rockford, as we noted in our press release, has always been in the top ten,” Rita Kreslin, AAIM’s Executive Director, said.
In fact, AAIM says the Rockford Police Department has ranked in the top 10 percent for more than a decade.
“Year after year, the emphasis that they put on DUI arrests is just amazing and they do a really good job of making sure that they keep the streets safe,” Kreslin said.
O’Shea says Rockford doesn’t have more drunk drivers than other cities in the state, but it does have more awareness. However, the number of arrests he says are troubling.
“It’s good that we’re out there and taking the intoxicated motorists off the roadway and making the roadway safer, but at the same time, that’s a lot of people who are driving intoxicated throughout the year,” Chief O’Shea said.
From 2017 to 2018, AAIM says Rockford Police’s DUI arrest rate jumped 12.7 percent, the fourth highest jump among top departments in the state.
But O’Shea says his officers will keep working to enforce the law in hopes that people stop breaking it.