The Orange County Sheriff's Department is running special DUI “saturation patrols” in four South County cities it patrols tonight.
Meanwhile, the department Thursday afternoon followed up on an announcement from earlier this month concerning Orange County Crime Lab clerical errors with blood-alcohol tests on thousands suspected of driving under the influence.
Deputies will blanket streets known for drunken driving citations, collisions and fatalities in Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Laguna Hills and Aliso Viejo from 7 tonight through 3 a.m. Saturday, the department announced.
“The goal of the program is to reduce the rate at which the citizens of Orange County are killed or injured in DUI related collisions,” reads an agency statement, which adds funding comes from a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The department Thursday afternoon followed up on the announcement from the Orange County District Attorney's office that the Crime Lab discovered a clerical error in calibrating one of two machines used to analyze blood alcohol concentration, resulting in letters going out to thousands of DUI defendants.
Besides working with its accrediting organization to document all corrective actions taken and the procedural changes detecting all calibrator variations, the Crime Lab is cooperating fully with Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and the county Board of Supervisors to request an audit by the state Health Department to confirm all procedural and casework standards, according to Gail Krause, the sheriff's public relations manager.
Once this external audit is completed, the findings will be presented to county supervisors and the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Krause added.
“The Orange County Crime Lab is among the largest crime labs in the nation and is nationally and internationally-recognized for its cutting edge technology and accomplishments,” says Sheriff Sandra Hutchens in the release. “I am confident that our Crime Lab is taking the necessary steps to ensure that these clerical errors do not occur in the future and will continue to provide credible results and exemplary service to the citizens of Orange County.”