Elgin tops DUI arrest increase across state
After training more police officers in detecting impaired drivers, Elgin logged the highest increase in DUI arrests last year among municipal law enforcement agencies across the state, data shows.
The Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists released Tuesday its annual DUI arrest survey for Illinois; nearly 700 police agencies were surveyed with an 81 percent response.
Rockford had the most DUI arrests, or 459, in 2016, followed by Decatur with 401 arrests, Elgin with 365, Naperville with 312, Carol Stream with 305, AAIM data shows. Rounding up the top 10 were Cicero, Bloomington, Normal, Aurora and Lombard. Chicago is in a separate category due to its size.
Elgin's DUI arrests went up 34.7 percent from 2015 to 2016.
Those arrests are among the most complicated for officers, and the traffic division has done a great job in training cops on DUI enforcement, Elgin Police Deputy Chief Bill Wolf said.
"The training is designed to help officers become more efficient when conducting these arrests," he said.
Also, the department got a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation that allowed it to spend more time on DUI enforcement, Wolf said.
"We are proud of our officers who continue to increase their proactive policing efforts while some departments have seen decreases," he said.`
Among those is Carol Stream, which had a 34.3 percent decrease in arrests from 2015. Still, the department logged the highest DUI arrest rate -- or 5.17 arrests per officer -- among departments making at least 200 arrests, data shows.
DUI enforcement always has been a priority in Carol Stream, but last year a few officers were reassigned to other tasks, Police Cmdr. Brian Cooper said.
More than half the police department is certified in "advanced roadside impaired driving enforcement," which focuses on stopping drivers under the influence of drugs, Cooper said. Carol Stream secured an IDOT grant to train officers in other jurisdictions to be certified in the advanced enforcement, he said.
"Our drug DUI numbers are higher than most departments. That makes a significant number of our overall DUI arrests."
AAIM Executive Director Rita Kreslin said in the news release that the organization has "great respect for all these officers and departments for their aggressive DUI enforcement."
However, "while the progress is encouraging, the battle to eliminate driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is far from over," she said.
The survey also included sheriff's departments. Winnebago County reported the most DUI arrests at 471, followed by Lake, DeKalb, Cook and Macon counties.