September 23, 2014

Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station Debuts Mobile DUI Unit

 

PHOTO BY ANNEMARIE DONKIN ©

Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station Debuts Mobile DUI Unit

Capt. Joseph H. Stephen Jr. of the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff's Station addressed the press conference to unveil the brand new DUI Mobile Enforcement Unit in Calabasas on Oct. 26. The fully equipped mobile unit was funded by Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and will serve as an offsite unit for DUI checkpoints with screening, sobriety tests, a booking area and computers for the collection and retention of evidence.

It was a proud day in law enforcement when the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station unveiled its brand new DUI Mobile Enforcement Unit in Calabasas on Oct. 26.

The fully equipped mobile unit was funded by Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and will serve the Santa Monica Mountains communities as an offsite unit for DUI checkpoints with screening, sobriety tests, a booking area and computers for the collection and retention of evidence.

The unit also has a radio station capable of transmitting 3,600 watts, outside lights and cameras, a microwave oven and restrooms for the officers and the Disaster Communication Service volunteers who assist the Sheriff’s Department.

Additionally, it can be activated as an Incident Command for sting operations or disaster communications and as a mobile command post during emergencies.

According to Yaroslavsky, the DUI Mobile Enforcement Unit is the newest method to aid with the Operation Safe Canyons program, which is comprised of local, county and state agencies that came together more than six years ago after numerous residents complained of street racing on steep canyon roads of the Santa Monica Mountains.

Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station Debuts Mobile DUI Unit

Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) joined with Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Calabasas Mayor Pro Tem Fred Gaines (left) and Calabasas City Councilmember David Shapiro (center) on a tour of the new Mobil DUI Enforcement Unit trailer with Sergeant Phillip Brooks of the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station, who has been in charge of traffic enforcement in the Santa Monica Mountains for almost a decade.

“We are grateful for the cooperation from Operations Safe Canyons. It is a very successful program that has allowed us to ramp up enforcement,” Yaroslavsky said. “This is one more tool in the tool kit; from now on, if you speed or drive drunk on these roads, the odds are you are going to get nailed and you put yourself and others at risk.”

During the official dedication, State Sen. Fran Pavley and Yaroslavsky praised the unit’s capabilities, including state-of-the art technology that is capable of connecting with law enforcement databases to complete administrative processes in the field.

“The Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol has a tremendous responsibility to keep the roads safe, especially at Kanan Road, Topanga, Mulholland and Malibu Canyon,” Sen. Pavley said.

Supervisor Yaroslavsky also spoke of the huge responsibility that falls on the Sheriff’s Department to enforce the drunk driving laws.

“Driving under the influence is not smart anywhere, on any road or highway and it poses a dangerous public safety threat,” he said. “Increasing anti-DUI checkpoints and patrols is a life-saving tool to help put a check on reckless drivers who drink too much and drive.”

Currently headed by Capt. Joseph H. Stephen Jr., the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff's Station is a branch of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department serving the communities of Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Chatsworth, Hidden Hills and Westlake Village.

Unincorporated communities include Chatsworth Lake Manor, Malibou Lake, Topanga and West Hills.

Capt. Stephen said the mobile unit would allow the station to increase DUI checkpoints without removing any patrol cars from the road.

“This is the latest tool to further our Operation Safe Canyons,” said Capt. Stephen. “We work with homeowners on law enforcement and since we started the program, we have had 909 arrests and issued 14,000 citations.”

Drunk and drugged driving remains the number one killer in Los Angeles County with nearly 800 deaths and more than 24,000 injuries.

According to statistics, crashes involving alcohol drop by an average of 20 percent when well-publicized checkpoints are conducted often enough.

Calabasas Mayor Pro Tem, Fred Gaines, and City Council member David Shapiro joined with the Senator, Supervisor and Sheriff’s Deputies on a tour of the black and white mobile unit.

“People are noticing how much quieter the streets have become because of the extra enforcement,” Gaines said. “Before, people complained about noisy speeders and motorcycles all over the roads.”

The California Highway Patrol works in partnership with the Sheriff’s Department to patrol the roads throughout the Santa Monica Mountains communities and they praised the new DUI unit.

“Safety is a priority,” said CHP Lieutenant Jodi Legarra. “Active enforcement is the key.”