Yellowstone Co. Sheriff Provides 24/7 Sobriety Briefing One Year into Program
One year since the 24/7 Sobriety Program was first rolled out in Yellowstone County, Sheriff Mike Linder and Undersheriff Kevin Evans on Thursday provided a briefing on the program at the county jail. They were joined by Attorney General Steve Bullock, who proposed the program to the 2011 Legislature; Judge Sheila Kolar; Deputy County Attorney Mary Leffers Barry; Highway Patrol Capt. Keith Edgell, and a participant in the program.
“Sheriff Mike Linder’s office was one of the first to start a 24/7 Sobriety Program when it was rolled out statewide last October,” Bullock said. “Thanks to the work of sheriffs like Mike, and the support of judges and prosecutors throughout the state, repeat DUI offenders here and in 21 other counties are getting the message – stay sober 24/7, or we will know and you will go back to jail. And that’s keeping all of us safer.”
Under the program, repeat DUI offenders come in to a central law enforcement site and take a breath test, twice a day, every day, between 7- 9 a.m. and 7-9 p.m. In its first year of statewide operation, over 115,500 portable breath tests have been administered, with a pass rate of 99.7% (Oct. 1, 2011 through Sept. 30, 2012).
“Based on the feedback from the participants, the 24/7 program is working,” Sheriff Linder said. “Thanks to 24/7, people who might otherwise be out drinking and driving aren’t, and as a result, our roads are safer.”
Twenty-two sheriffs’ offices from the following counties are now participating – Anaconda-Deer Lodge, Beaverhead, Big Horn, Blaine, Broadwater, Butte-Silver Bow, Cascade, Custer, Dawson, Flathead, Gallatin, Granite, Jefferson, Lincoln, Lewis and Clark, Musselshell, Powell, Sanders, Sheridan, Sweet Grass, Teton and Yellowstone. Based on the 2010 Census, these counties represent 65 percent of Montana’s population.
An additional 16 counties have taken the 24/7 Sobriety training in preparation for starting the program – Daniels, Fergus, Garfield, Golden Valley, Hill, Judith Basin, Lake, Madison, McCone, Meagher, Mineral, Ravalli, Richland, Roosevelt, Rosebud and Wheatland.
Offenders pay a minimal fee for each test so that offenders, not taxpayers, cover the cost of administering the program. In remote areas, participants may wear electronic monitoring devices, called SCRAM bracelets.