Holiday advice from Florida law enforcement – Drive sober or get pulled over!

Deputies with HCSO and troopers with FHP gather to receive final instructions before hitting the streets.
Deputies with HCSO and troopers with FHP gather to receive final instructions before hitting the streets.

VALRICO, Fl. (WFLA) – While law enforcement officers in Pinellas County are conducting what they are calling a DUI wolfpack, Hillsborough deputies were also out in force Saturday targeting drunk drivers.

More than a dozen deputies were joined by Florida Highway Patrol Troopers to saturate the eastern part of the county.

Hillsborough Deputy Chris Barfield-Craig says most impaired drivers he pulls over don’t believe they’ve committed a serious crime.

“That’s one of the things I hear the most when I arrest people for DUI – it is a common statement that all of them make across all backgrounds,” he explained. “It’s kind of weird how common it is. We hear we should be out arresting more serious criminals.”

Barfield-Craig notes that any traffic stop can lead to a DUI arrest.  A driver doesn’t have to be weaving or speeding to get pulled over.

“And when you make contact with the driver, you happen to discover they are impaired or possibly impaired,” he says. “That’s not always what you thought you were getting into in the beginning.”

Most law enforcement officers who concentrate on DUI enforcement consider it a passion. Many have worked crashes where a drunk or impaired driver hurt or killed someone.  They feel getting someone like that off the road before an accident, is actually saving lives.

“It’s just better off than me having to wake up your loved ones and say you know, your husband your brother, your mother isn’t coming home tonight,” Barfield-Craig adds.  “Or you get that phone call from jail.”

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