I came across this article from WCBI, which details DUI enforcement in Starkville, Mississippi. It provides a good lesson about the profit motive in making DUI arrests:
STARKVILLE, Miss– Starkville Police hands out more DUIs than almost any other police department in the state. Police Chief David Lindley says in 2008 officers arrested more than 400 people. If the city allows Sunday beer sales Lindley says they will keep a close eye out for more drunk drivers on the road.
Starkville Police Chief David Lindley says, “If there are any changes in drinking patterns it remains to be seen, but I don’t anticipate that there will be. Time will tell, but right now we don’t anticipate changing any of our enforcement or patrol patterns at all.”
DUI fines have generated more than 1.3 million dollars for the city. Many of the success has come from the ability to fund programs geared for making a difference in DUI enforcement.
Lindley says, “We’ve been fortunate since 2006 the state has helped provide us funds, grants that have allowed us more enforcement opportunities for DUI and minor in possession.
Starkville has used more than a 100 thousand dollars in grants to pay overtime for beefed up patrols on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, which is when most of their arrests occur.
The Starkville Police Department has received grants of $100,000.00, to be used strictly for DUI enforcement. And it’s paid off for the City: a $100,000.00 investment (which was free to the City) has reaped $1,300,000.00 in revenue. That’s a hell of a return by any standard. I’m sure it’s quite helpful in a tight budget year.
Officers receiving overtime pay from these grants are expected to focus on DUI arrests, and not necessarily other crimes. To keep these grants rolling in, officers are under pressure to make arrests. The pressure to justify continued grants results in officers making DUI arrests which are marginal at best. Innocent people are bound to get caught in the DUI-revenue drive.