Tempe Police consider Safe and Sober operation successful, plan to continue program

In the first nine nights of Operation Safe and Sober, Tempe police arrested 1,367 people as part of the increased efforts to stop drunk drivers and underage drinking, Tempe Police officials said.

Tempe Chief of Police Tom Ryff said most of these arrests, citations and complaints occur in a two-mile area around ASU, which extends from Rural Road to the Price Freeway and from University Drive to Broadway Road.

“We expect parties to occur,” Ryff said. “Don’t put yourself in a position to make poor choices, go out and wreak havoc … and think you can get away with it.”

Because of Safe and Sober, police made 5,815 stops or contacts. This resulted in 3,788 citations for violations, police reported.

Of the 1,367 arrests made, 125 of them were for minors in possession of alcohol and 381 were for minors consuming alcohol, according to the report.

There were 287 misdemeanor arrests for driving under the influence and 22 aggravated DUI arrests, police said.

Of these arrests, 66 were extreme DUIs with a 0.15 blood alcohol concentration, and seven were super extreme DUIs, with a 0.20 BAC, according to the report.

Additionally, 67 of the DUIs were drug-related, police reported.

Police said they also made 129 loud party calls during the time period.

“I’m devoting thousands and thousands of staff hours from sworn police officers to respond to service calls about loud parties,” Ryff said.

Ryff said Tempe Police receive between 500 and 600 calls about loud parties every month.

Some of the apartments that cater to students create an atmosphere that can promote partying, which may lead to increased arrests and citations.

“Some of these apartment complexes are built to party swimming pools and jumbotrons,” Ryff said. “And they are there, and they are partying.”

Vic Cook, trial Bureau chief for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, said Tempe Police will be partnering with MCAO to assign specific prosecutors to the area surrounding ASU to prosecute violent crimes, which seem to occur on a frequent basis.

“We work specifically with various detectives and the Chief of Police to protect the area effectively with the investigating officer,” Cook said. “We pledge our assistance to the Tempe Police Department in trying to resolve the problems.”

Reach the reporter at sgslade@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @shelbygslade