Two agencies check in on DUIs

Sharing arrests a common practice in region
By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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Two law enforcement agencies used for one arrest is a common sight in unincorporated areas of the region’s counties. With miles of rural roads to patrol in El Dorado County, the responsibility of keeping drunk drivers off the roads falls to the CHP — a practice more common than one might think. El Dorado County covers 1,805 square miles. There are two police departments in the county — one in Placerville the other in South Lake Tahoe. Lt. Bryan Golmitz, spokesman for the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, said while deputies are trained to handle DUIs, it is their practice to turn such arrests over to the area CHP. The sheriff’s office focuses on crimes such as burglaries, assaults, battery and robbery. Sacramento County covers about 994 square miles and several cities have their own police force to handle drunk drivers including Folsom, Citrus Heights and Elk Grove, to name a few. Jason Romas, spokesman for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s department, said “every” DUI is handed off to the local CHP. “We have a contractual arrangement,” he said. “If a deputy does a traffic stop and believes the driver is intoxicated, CHP is called and administers the field sobriety test.” He said if an arrest is to be made, CHP will take custody of the suspected drunk driver. “We will fill out a form regarding probable cause for the stop, symptoms and the like, but all DUI arrests with the exception of (those occurring) in Rancho Cordova will take place by CHP rather the deputies,” Romas said. “It’s always been this way.” Ramos said traffic enforcement and traffic investigations are handled by CHP. In neighboring Placer County the rules are the same. “Anything traffic related (in the county) is handed off to CHP,” said Placer County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Dena Erwin. Officer Dan Stark, spokesman for the Placerville CHP office, said CHP officers have primary jurisdiction on country roads and highways. “If we make a stop in an incorporated area, as a courtesy we notify the police department because they have primary jurisdiction,” Stark said. “They will do the same thing for us.” City police handle the DUI arrests within their jurisdiction, he said.