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Published December 29, 2011, 10:24 PM

Fargo police see record number of DUI arrests in 2011

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It is startling; Fargo police have arrested more drunk drivers this year alone than any other. With the New Year not starting until Sunday that record is likely to rise.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

It is startling; Fargo police have arrested more drunk drivers this year alone than any other. With the New Year not starting until Sunday that record is likely to rise.

Police reached that historic number overnight - nine arrests in just one night. But officers aren't quite sure why DUI arrests are skyrocketing.

Captain Dave Todd – Fargo Police Department: “I'm not really sure what more we can do.”

Looking over the latest arrests, it's no problem spotting the problem.

Captain Dave Todd: “Our population has grown. As our police department has grown, we've seen the number of DUIs grow also.”

Fargo hit an all-time high overnight; 1113 DUI arrests this year alone. That beats the old record by three, back in 2006. In all of last year, there were 875.

Captain Dave Todd: “Apparently, we're not having the affect that I would like to see us have on trending DUIs downward.”

Robyn Litke – Safe Communities Coalition: “I don't think we necessarily have a DUI problem. I think we have a drinking problem.”

Drinkers have more places to over consume. The city has about 160 liquor licenses, the most it's ever had.Cass and Clay Counties have about 300 licenses for the 200,000 people living there.

Robyn Litke: “It's a cultural problem.”

But maybe blame better and extra enforcement. Fargo added four officers. The trained men and women, on the local and state levels, are cracking down with checkpoints. They held about five this past year.

Robyn Litke: “It may not necessarily mean that more people are drinking and driving more, but just that they're getting caught more.”

Hearing the sheer number of arrests, with two days left in 2011, clearly this is a reason to be concerned, not celebrate.

Captain Dave Todd: “Anytime somebody's driving under the influence, they're a hazard out there on the road. They're a hazard to themselves and they're a hazard to the other people.”

The department is at capacity with 144 officers. It plans to add one more this next year.

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