Statistics for DUI Arrests Released Despite History of Problems

As a follow up to this week's blog about Chicago's Richard Fiorito who was one of AAIM's most recognized police officers for his number of arrests, AAIM has once again released numbers for what they call "the most productive departments and officers". Apparently AAIM defines "productive" by sheer number of arrests, not the number of guilty people who are arrested. Historically, this has lead officers such as Officer Fiorito and other Chicago officers before him, to allegedly arrest innocent people in order to drive up the number of their arrests. More arrests means more overtime for going to court, and state-wide recognition by organizations like AAIM. However, as Officer Fiorito learned, it can also lead to state-wide recognition when dozens of people come forward and sue you in federal court for falsely arresting them.

Of all the Illinois policy agencies, 76% responded to AAIM's survey. Based on those results, Rockford had the most number of DUI arrests in Illinois in 2011 outside of Chicago. They arrested 686 people for DUI. Chicago arrested 3,037 people, which was down 17.8% from 2010. Illinois State Police arrested 9,719, a number which had also decreased from 2010.

Once again, AAIM sought to highlight those Chicago officers who made the most DUI arrests, calling their efforts "life-saving." AAIM even pointed out "there are several individual officers making more DUI arrests per year than than some entire police departments in Illinois." As history has shown, this causes me to wonder why those officer's cases aren't scrutinized more carefully, rather than blindly rewarding them.

While we certainly encourage the efforts of all the police to deter drunk driving, the accolades would be better placed in officers who have the highest level of convictions. Many of Officer Fiorito's arrests resulted in not guilty verdicts, or even dismissals by the prosecution before trial. Thus, the number of arrests should be compared to the number of not guilty verdicts and dismissals those arrests resulted in. Then, by all means, celebrate away.

Other municipalities with the highest number of DUI arrests after Rockford are listed below. Note that some of these municipalities are much larger than others, and places like Carol Stream are only a villages yet have very high numbers.

  • Naperville - 622 arrests
  • Springfield - 553 arrests
  • Rock Island - 465 arrests
  • Decatur - 448 arrests
  • Elmhurst - 367 arrests
  • Elgin - 352 arrests
  • Carol Stream - 349 arrests
  • Peoria - 306 arrests
  • Normal - 296 arrests
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