DUI Arrests Up in Leon County

If the glass is half empty it means there are more drunks on the road than ever before. If the glass is half full it means officers are making more arrests.

DEP Steve Barrow has a knack for spotting drunk drivers. He personally arrested more than 100 of them last year, some still drunk on their way to work, others drunk while picking up kids from school.

DEP Barrow says, "When it comes to DUI I do take it personally because that could be my wife and children to someone in that car who thinks: 'I've only had two or three drinks and I'm okay to drive.’ "

Barrow was one of three officers honored Friday for making more than 50 DUI arrests in 2004. His name along with Lonnie Seay and Bubba Stinson are on a new plaque called "50 Reasons."

Andy Hindman with Florida Mothers Against Drunk Driving says, "The more drunk drivers we're able to take off the roads, the fewer alcohol-related crashes, the fewer tragic incidents and fatalities and serious injuries we will have in our community."

In Leon County, drunk driving arrests have more than doubled. In the city limits they're down slightly, as a spokesman says officers focused more on aggressive drivers.

DEP Barrow will be out on DUI patrol again in 2005, anxious to top his tally and spare family tragedy. The Leon County Sheriff's Department has two full-time DUI deputies thanks to a grant from the DOT.

The Tallahassee Police Department plans to add a full-time DUI officer in February thanks to a similar grant.