ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – Police are cracking down on drunk driving for the New Year’s Eve weekend with two DWI checkpoints on both Saturday and Sunday, but between the big holidays, Albuquerque is seeing fewer DWI arrests than ever.
“We’re going to have a zero-tolerance attitude toward DWI,” Albuquerque Police Chief of Police Mike Geier said at a news conference held Thursday.
The Albuquerque Police Department’s short-staffing has been brought up before: A decade ago, APD made almost 4,900 DWI arrests. Six years later, that number dropped drastically to 2,523 arrests. This year through November 2017, that number has been cut in half again with 1,200 people busted for DWI.
“I think we’re concerned with this because we’ve been so resource constrained and we haven’t been enforcing it as much,” Mayor Tim Keller said at the news conference.
He added that fighting the DWI crisis will be a long-term goal under the new administration.
“It’s something we have to put dedicated resources into and have a renewed effort statewide,” he said.
APD has said its officers are busy running from crime scene to crime scene so traffic enforcement has taken a backseat.
Mayor Keller has talked about his plans to add more APD staff, but Thursday said future plans about beefing up the DWI unit are up in the air.
“We have a proportionate math formula on what those appropriate increases could be but certainly it’s one unit that we want to look at and see if we need to add resources there as well,” Keller said.
APD’s traffic unit has also been decimated over the years. In 2010, the traffic unit had more than 34 officers and now there are fewer than 12.
A few years ago, KRQE News 13 discovered on the city’s transparency site that the number of traffic tickets APD was writing was down 30 percent. After the story, the city stopped publishing the numbers. The new administration said Thursday it will look into posting those numbers again.
Albuquerque is partnering with Uber to offer discounted rides to passengers from Dec. 27 through Jan. 1 to help prevent drunk driving. Use the code “ABQNYE17” to get $10 off four rides anywhere in the city.