DWI arrests continue downard trend

Russell Anglin

By Russell Anglin

Quay County Sun

Monday’s Quay County Commission meeting brought quarterly reports from the county DWI compliance office and Quay County Detention Center, as well as a discussion about the status of U.S. Air Force Low Altitude Tactical Navigation (LATN) flights over Quay County.

Bryan Rinestine of the county DWI compliance office gave a report which included the following information on the second quarter for fiscal year 2011, which spans Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 2010:

• 11 DWI arrests were made in Quay County, including nine males and two females.

• Seven DWI arrests were recorded as first offenses, one was a second offense, two were fourth offenses and one arrest was a sixth offense.

• Two persons were charged with aggravated DWI.

• The average blood alcohol content recorded among the DWI arrests was .13.

• The average age among those arrested for DWI was 46 years old. The ages ranged from 29 to 70 years old.

• No DWI-related accidents or fatalities were reported.

• State police made seven DWI arrests, the Tucumcari Police Department made three arrests, and the New Mexico Department of Transportation made one arrest.

• 408 hours of community service were ordered. The maximum jail time sentenced for DWI offenses was up to 364 days. The minimum time sentenced was up to 90 days.

• 73 persons are currently on a DWI compliance program in Quay County.

District 3 Commissioner Brad Bryant asked Rinestine if DWI incidents have been dropping.

“It actually has dropped,” Rinestine responded. “I’ve been doing this now 3 1/2 years. When I first came on it was in the low 90s and it slowly just dropped, almost seemed like it dropped one or two almost every quarter. DWI arrests are way down.”

“So maybe the program is working,” Bryant said.

“I think it is, from talking to some state police officers,” Rinestine responded. “They’re really seeing on high-traffic weekends, like the fourth of July weekend, that although they’re not seeing a lower number of intoxicated persons, they’re seeing a high use of designated drivers.”

Rinestine said Quay County DWI convictions have been following a downward trend in recent years. He reported 80 convictions for fiscal year 2008, 67 for fiscal year 2009 and 58 for fiscal year 2010. He said there have been 18 DWI convictions so far in fiscal year 2011, which began July 1.

Quay County Detention Center Administrator T.J. Rich gave a quarterly report which included the following information on the second quarter of fiscal year 2011:

• The detention center contained a total of 199 adult inmates who were held for a total of 3,085 days.

• The average daily adult population was 33.53.

• The average length of stay for inmates was 15.5 days.

• The detention center population was 37 as of Monday, including 29 males and 8 females.

• Total incidents for the quarter was 112.

• Seven adults were sentenced to wear ankle monitors.

Juvenile detention center

• The juvenile detention center contained 22 juveniles total.

• Five Quay County juveniles were contained for a total of 70 days. Three juveniles from Union County, seven from Roosevelt County, one from Guadalupe County and two from Colfax County were contained, generating $21,850 in total revenue for the detention center.

• The average daily population was 4.1 inmates.

• Average length of stay for inmates was 17.8 days.

• As of Monday, the juvenile detention center contained six inmates, all of whom were from outside the county. Rich said he was expecting four more juvenile inmates from Roosevelt County to be transported Monday, which will put the juvenile detention center at its maximum population.

• One juvenile was sentenced to wear an ankle monitor.

Commission Chairman Bill Curry re-opened discussion on LATN flights from Cannon Air Force Base that would include Quay County. Commissioners passed a resolution opposing the flights in November, citing concerns over the flights potentially interfering with wind energy development in the county.

Curry said the commissioners met with Cannon Air Force Base Vice Commander Col. Kirk W. Smith at the New Mexico Association of Counties meeting in Santa Fe Jan. 19, which allowed commissioners to voice their concerns.

“The biggest fear most people have is it would be detrimental to economic development of wind turbines, and after listening to (Col. Smith) talk, he reassured us that it would have no effect whatsoever on transmission lines or the turbines themselves. In fact, that’s what the training is for, to avoid obstacles,” District 1 Commissioner Robert Lopez said. “They actually don’t want to know — they won’t even ask if you put a turbine up. They want to be able to find them and avoid them with their aircraft.

“Another thing that he indicated was the size of the (LATN) area is so huge, 94,000 square miles. The reason for that was so when they did fly these missions, they wouldn’t be flying in the same place over and over so you wouldn’t have to listen to the jet fly over your house every night at the same time.”