DUI numbers decreasing

  • Published
  • By Wayne Crenshaw
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Steps taken in the past year to curb DUIs for Robins Airmen appear to be having an impact.

Statistics through June show 12 DUIs for the current fiscal year, which begins in October. In that same period the previous year, there were 26 DUIs.

Chief Master Sgt. Margarita Overton, acting installation command chief, said the sharp reduction is a positive sign, but it's not time to declare the problem solved.

"I don't think we give up until those numbers keep going down," she said. "It's not time to rest on our laurels. It's something in which we have to stay actively engaged."

She credited the decrease to some new initiatives over the past year. One of those is having local law enforcement officers speak to new Airmen during the orientation process.

Overton said a problem in the past has been Airmen aren't aware of just how little alcohol it can take to get a DUI in Georgia, in some circumstances, such as when they are involved in an accident or seen driving erratically. In those cases, a DUI can be issued even if they are under the standard blood alcohol limit of .08.

She also said the base has been successful in getting jurisdiction for DUIs occurring off base. That allows a greater number of options in handing out punishments.

"We have a lot more tools available to us than if the individual gets prosecuted by civilian authorities," Overton said.

Also, she said, there is an increased emphasis on the wingman culture. She cited one recent case in which a commander disciplined an Airman for failing to stop another Airman who got a DUI.

Robins is on track to have its lowest DUI total since its aggressive anti-DUI campaign began five years ago. After 75 DUIs in fiscal 2004, the number dropped to 43 in 2005. There were 35 DUIs in 2006, 41 in 2007, 40 in 2008 and 29 in 2009.