DUI Arrests Increase

More patrols and checkpoints in Madison County may have led to an increase in DUI arrests during the holidays.

The city of Ridgeland saw an increase in DUI arrests from December 21, 2018, to January 1, 2019, which Police Chief John Neal said could be due to an increase in checkpoints and the extra time off for the holiday season.

“I think the additional date thrown into both weekends played a part in that,” Neal said. “Christmas and New Year’s Day were both on a Tuesday this year, so that added an extra day in there for people to revel, party and celebrate.

The city of Madison did not see an increase in DUI arrests from the previous year, with five arrests made between December 21 and January 1 last year. Four arrests were made during the same time period this year.

During that 10-day period this year, Ridgeland officers made seven arrests for motorists driving under the influence, one of which was a third offense felony DUI that resulted in a crash.

They also issued 22 speeding citations.

Last year, Ridgeland police made one DUI arrest and issued 29 speeding citations during the 10-day period.

“We ran a few more checkpoints this year, which may lead to the increase in DUIs,” Neal said. “Whereas last year we relied on regular patrol. We did checkpoints as weather allowed this year.”

Madison officers issued nine speeding citations and responded to two alcohol-related crashes this year.

Neal said a lot of things factor into the department’s decision on the number of checkpoints they run and the dates.

“Usually we don’t do them on the actual holiday,” he said. “We typically do them within the holiday period.”

He said the department relies on the Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies, which helps with their coverage during the holidays to cut down on drunk driving.