Santa Monica police officers conduct a sobriety checkpoint in the 2300 block of Pico Boulevard on Saturday, April 24 in an effort to catch drunk drivers. Officers contacted 185 drivers, arrested two for driving under the influence, one for possession of brass knuckles and marijuana, and issued nine citations. Six vehicles were impounded.


With the end of summer approaching, law enforcement agencies are gearing up their annual holiday enforcement programs

With the end of summer approaching, law enforcement agencies are gearing up their annual holiday enforcement programs.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP), Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP), and Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) are joining forces for a tri-agency Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) over Labor Day. The tri-state enforcement initiative begins at 6:01 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 1, and continues through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 4.

Throughout the holiday weekend, while law enforcement will be looking for traffic violations and assisting motorists, a special emphasis will be placed on identifying and apprehending those suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and/or alcohol.

“Alcohol-and drug-impaired driving continues to be a leading cause of traffic fatalities and injuries. An impaired driver behind the wheel puts themselves and everyone on the road in great danger,” said CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee. “The CHP, along with our partners in Nevada and Arizona are committed to proactive enforcement throughout the holiday weekend. We will deploy all available personnel to ensure the highest level of safety for everyone traveling.”

Last year during the Labor Day MEP, CHP officers made more than 900 arrests for DUI, in addition to issuing nearly 5,700 speeding citations. Sadly, 52 people were killed in crashes on California’s roads.

Myesha Morrison with the Santa Monica Police Department said local officers are anticipating an increase in visitors to the city over the weekend.

“In response, the department is increasing high visibility patrols in downtown, parking structures and beach areas,” she said. “We would also like to highlight the ‘Take It. Lock it. Keep It.’ campaign that is mainstay in our crime prevention message. Residents and visitors are reminded to remove all valuables from their cars when visiting the beach and shopping districts to help combat crimes of opportunity.”

Like CHP, SMPD reminds residents to never drink and drive but rather, to always have a designated driver. Local officers will also be out enforcing a DUI checkpoint on Sept. 1 from 6 p.m. – 2 a.m. at an undisclosed location.

Specific DUI checkpoint locations are determined by safety data and are designed to take impaired drivers off the road.

“SMPD reminds the public that impaired driving is not just from alcohol,” said the department in a statement. “Some prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs may interfere with driving. While medicinal and recreational marijuana are legal, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal. If you plan on drinking or taking medications that may impact your ability to drive safely, plan on staying at home.”

Drivers charged with a first-time DUI face an average of $13,500 in fines and penalties, as well as a suspended license.

The department will also be wrapping up a bicycle and pedestrian safety operation on Friday. Traffic officers have been on duty patrolling areas where bike and pedestrian traffic and collisions occur in an effort to lower deaths and injuries. Officers will be looking for violations committed by drivers, bike riders and pedestrians alike that can lead to life changing injuries. These violations include speeding, making illegal turns, failing to yield or provide right of way to bicyclists or pedestrians, or failing to stop for signs and signals.

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...