The Tempe Police Department launched its Safe and Sober Campaign for the second year on Thursday in an effort to minimize drug use, drunk driving and underage drinking in and around Tempe.
The Tempe Police Department and other participating police departments, including the Gilbert, Phoenix, Scottsdale and ASU police departments, will be forming special task forces to target local alcohol- and drug-related crimes until the campaign’s scheduled end on Sept. 6.
They will be concentrating their resources on weekends, beginning Thursday nights, when drug and alcohol use is at its highest.
Last year, approximately 1,700 arrests were made over the course of the three-week campaign, 400 of which were for DUIs.
Sgt. Daniel Macias of the ASU Police Department said that these numbers are very high, and he hopes they are mirrored during this year’s campaign.
“Last year was a huge success, and we look to build on that success this year,” he said.
However, Tempe Police officer Noah Johnson said the Safe and Sober Campaign is about more than making arrests, including educational initiatives and neighborhood walks.
During neighborhood walks, officers go door-to-door in select neighborhoods to educate people about the dangers of drunk driving and better accomplish the goals of the campaign.
Johnson said the Tempe Police Department chooses this time of year to conduct its Safe and Sober Campaign due to the influx of over 10,000 freshmen to ASU every August.
He said that the bad decisions that students in particular make under the influence of drugs and alcohol can have serious — even deadly — consequences.
“If we could just save one life, it would make it all worth it,” he said.
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