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DUI arrests down in Denver

Because the U.S. economy has struggled to rebound, a lot of Americans have had to downsize since 2008. Even the Denver Police Department has become smaller in those years.

One of the effects of a leaner police force is that fewer drivers are being arrested for DUI in our city. Since 2008, DUIs have dropped nearly in half, the DPD says.

Denver's NBC outlet analyzed Denver County court data from 2008 through last year. In 2008, there were 10,912 DUIs in the city. Last year, there were just 5,913; a decrease of 46 percent in six years.

A spokesperson for the police department doesn't credit a decrease in drinking and driving, but rather the downsized department. Because of a hiring freeze, there are simply fewer cops to cover the city, he said. 

He added that the department has 175 fewer officers than it did back in 2008. Back then, there were 1,550 cops on the beat. Last year, that figure had dropped to 1,383, the spokesperson said.

Drivers are also contending with fewer traffic tickets. DPD officers wrote out 140,100 citations in 2008, but by last year, the total was down to 105,354.

 With a smaller department, some traffic officers have been moved to higher priority areas, meaning the traffic unit shrank from 76 cops in 2008 to just 60 last year.

Some of that is about to change. DPD is again hiring. Recruits are graduating from the police academy, and by the end of the year, the department will have beefed up: 50 to 100 added officers are expected by the end of 2014.

That means we could well see a rise in Denver DUIs this year, making it crucial that suspects are aware that experienced attorneys are available to help them through the complex legal process.

Source: NBC Denver, "Data shows DUI enforcement down in Denver," Whitney Wild, May 2, 2014

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