ST. GEORGE — A specially trained group of troopers made their semiannual trek to Southern Utah to help with DUI enforcement, netting 10 arrests over the weekend.
The Utah Highway Patrol DUI squad that visited St. George Friday and Saturday is composed of about a dozen troopers tasked specifically with finding drunken or otherwise impaired drivers on the state’s highways.
“We were tired of the snow up here, so came down to do some enforcement down there,” UHP Lt. Paul Kotter said.
The squad is based out of Weber and Salt Lake counties throughout the year with occasional trips to other parts of the state.
Troopers apprehended seven individuals for DUI violations in the St. George area and three near Cedar City.
With only one of the St. George area arrests occurring Saturday night, Kotter said he believes people took notice, saying his troopers noted more cars staying put at drinking establishments and a spike in taxi use.
“We think our presence there encouraged people not to drive Saturday night,” Kotter said.
The squad that appeared in Southern Utah this weekend was composed of the lieutenant, a colonel, two sergeants and several troopers on the lookout specifically for DUI violations.
“We’re looking for anything from equipment violation on a car to lane travel, speed – any traffic law that is broken gives us cause to stop the car and check for alcohol,” Kotter said.
Two of the arrests were for drug impairment, serving as a reminder that troopers are not just on the lookout for alcohol violations.
“I’d say each trooper stopped at least 20 cars or more,” he said, “and those people who were stopped for the numerous different traffic violations or equipment violations, they were released mostly without citation.”
He said the number of arrests in Southern Utah were comparable to what the Weber County squad arrested that same weekend.
Despite the squad’s unique charge, UHP trains all of its troopers to recognize drivers that appear to be behind the wheel impaired.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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