Officer protocol for handling people cited for driving under the influence includes giving courtesy rides if an officer is available and citing and releasing the suspect, according to the Maricopa Police Department.
Residents questioned whether Councilman Bridger Kimball received special treatment after InMaricopa.com reported Wednesday he received a citation for a DUI on Dec. 15 and was given a ride home by an officer.
InMaricopa.com Facebook readers wondered if Kimball was being treated differently because he’s a councilman.
Acting Maricopa Police Chief James Hughes said in a press release Thursday that DUI policy “does not require mandatory booking in jail” and that “a majority” of people arrested for DUIs are given courtesy rides home, especially if they live within city limits.
“If we can’t find somebody to come get them, or they don’t have the means to get a cab, we extend that courtesy,” police spokesman Ricky Alvarado said in a phone interview.
Besides being part of “community policing,” Alvarado said, “it comes down to safety.”
The police department doesn’t want a potentially intoxicated person attempting to cross State Route 347 or the train tracks, he said.
Courtesy rides are not limited to DUI arrests. Officers, if available, also provide rides to motorists whose cars have broken down, Alvarado said.
According to city statistics, there were 154 DUI arrests last year and 76 drivers were given a ride home from an officer. Thirty-two were transported by family or friends, three took a taxi, five went to the hospital and the remaining 28 reports did not indicate a mode of transportation.
Out of the 154 DUIs, 144 drivers were cited and released and 10 were booked into jail.
According to the press release, City Manager Brenda Fischer did not know about the courtesy ride policy until Kimball’s citation.