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NEWS IN BRIEF: A summary of developments across Los
Angeles County | Community News File / Los Angeles

Council Votes to Improve Records on DUI Suspects

November 04, 1998

In an effort to collar drunken drivers who wriggle out of the grasp of justice, the City Council voted Tuesday to direct the Los Angeles Police Department to fingerprint and photograph all suspects arrested for DUI.

Currently, the LAPD takes thumbprints of DUI offenders, a practice that has proven inadequate to identify people who skip their court dates, said Councilwoman Laura Chick.

Sometimes, she said, those arrested give false names or phony identification cards, making them difficult to track down once they are released.

"There are potentially thousands of DUI arrestees who are slipping through the cracks," said Chick, chairwoman of the council's Public Safety Committee. She supported the fingerprinting motion made by Councilman Hal Bernson, which the council approved without discussion.

The Police Department was also instructed to figure out how many DUI offenders have not been fully prosecuted and how long it will take to set up a data base for the fingerprints and photographs. The department is expected to report back within three weeks, Chick said.

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