Police sergeant leads county's successful DUI efforts

Ken Savano doesn't mind if you're out on the town and have a drink or so. But just be sure you're not driving afterward when you shouldn't be because if you are, Savano is hoping you'll wind up arrested and in jail.

"Many people say, &‘I'm fine. I'm OK,' but they don't realize how the alcohol will affect them on the road," said Savano, a Petaluma police sergeant who also is coordinator of Sonoma County's anti-DUI task force, the Avoid the 13, which includes all police agencies in the county.

As the face and voice of the countywide police effort to prevent DUI-related deaths and injuries, Savano said, "It's not personal. This is our job."

And that job for the task force includes stepped up DUI crackdowns, including checkpoints, special DUI patrols, searches of those on DUI probation and parole and monitoring of habitual DUI offenders. The task force holds four, two-week crackdowns a year, and the next one starts Friday, with checkpoints that night and Saturday.

A factor that Savano points to as a success of the Avoid the 13 is the number of fatal DUI crashes that occur during the crackdowns: Since 2009, there have been none.

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