By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
The California Office of Traffic Safety has awarded a $390,000 grant to the Kern County District Attorney's office to fund a "vertical prosecution" team that will work DUI cases from arrest through sentencing.
The funding is the next step in the focused prosecution of impaired drivers that the Kern County District Attorney's office began two years ago, according to a DA's office news release. Two assigned deputy district attorneys at the office have prosecuted 306 felony impaired drivers, including 19 drivers who were convicted of murder or manslaughter.
"It is clear we still have a lot of work to do to keep the streets safe from impaired drivers," District Attorney Lisa Green said in the news release. "However, it should be clear to anyone, that if you do drive while impaired the police will catch you and we will convict you."
Prosecutors will work with the state's Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor Program to increase capabilities by delivering specialized training, including training in combatting drug-impaired driving, the news release said.
The program's purpose is to help prevent impaired driving and reduce alcohol and drug-impaired traffic deaths and injuries, according to the news release.
"DUI can be a violent, tragic crime," Christopher J. Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety, said in the news release. "This special team will help ensure that no one falls through the cracks, and that the worst-of-the-worst offenders face a highly skilled, dedicated prosecutor."