A forty year old man was arrested in Redlands on Thursday night after allegedly driving with a blood-alcohol level four times the legal limit. Police say that his arrest is all thanks to the town's surveillance cameras.
A volunteer in the police force was monitoring the cameras and saw James Diaz stumbling toward a 2000 Honda near the 300 block of Orange Street. When Diaz allegedly drove off in the vehicle moments later, the volunteer directed police toward him.
California DUI offenders with a blood-alcohol content level over .20, can receive an enhanced sentence with harsher penalties. This can include required enrollment in an intensive alcohol treatment program and a suspended license for 10 months (does not exceed 6 month suspension for first time offenders with BAC between .08 and .19).
The police in Redlands see video surveillance as an effective means of catching criminals. Another person in the town was also caught driving under the influence due to video monitoring just three weeks ago.
"In the past three weeks alone, just in the downtown area, surveillance camera operators have assisted in the arrest of two drunken drivers and four people who were seen selling and using heroin in a public parking lot," Redlands Police Chief Jim Bueermann told LA Weekly
. "An alert volunteer camera operator may very well have prevented a tragedy."
While volunteers can be seen as heroes in the L.A region, their actions can also raise some credibility questions. Does a volunteer have enough training to detect if a person is drunk? A Los Angeles drunk driving lawyer may very well bring this point up in cases like this one.