Police Try New Tactic To Stop Repeat DUI Offenders

WTVO/WQRF -- When it comes to driving, being drunk could land you in jail. But sometimes, that doesn't stop people from doing it.

Michael Beatty says he's never been convicted of DUI, but believes not everyone should be punished over one offense.

"Well, I feel that, you know, everyone deserves more than one chance, like I said."

But, Beatty says that's the only chance he'll be willing to hand someone who drinks and drives.

"But, I think, beyond that, obviously, you didn't learn your lesson putting people's lives at risk."

Macon County Sheriff's Officers arrested Kevin Collier for a third DUI Sunday. He's now being charged with a felony.

So how is law enforcement stopping these offenders from getting behind the wheel?

"We can't really keep them from getting behind the wheel unless they are incarcerated and sometimes we have."

Even though police can't physically stop offenders from breaking the law, they do have a solution.

"We have the DUI court and it is meant for higher-risk offenders. If locking people up is not stopping the problem, we can work with them in the community and teach them not to keep committing these crimes."

In a report from the Alliance of Intoxicated Motorists, Rockford ranked 1st in the state for DUI arrests, with 556 in 2013.  On a list ranking counties, Winnebago County finished third.  Here's how some of the other local cities fared:

  • #22: Loves Park
  • #25: DeKalb
  • #81: Roscoe
  • #93: Rochelle
  • #110: South Beloit
  • #121: Oregon

"I don't know if there's anything out of the ordinary, recently. I've been doing this a long time and you're always going to have a certain segment of the population that keeps committing the same crime over and over."

The penalties do increase for repeat DUI offenders.  But, some lawmakers want to change the DUI laws. Right now, drivers with four convictions permanently lose their license. A new bill would let them get a limited permit to drive to and from work. The bill is on hold. The sponsor has the option of reintroducing it in the future.

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