By Jacob Wilson/Garden Grove Journal
Driving under the influence will be even more costly in Westminster, and all of California for that matter.
The Westminster City Council during its Sept. 28 meeting passed an ordinance allowing the Westminster Police Department to seek up to $4000 from convicted drunk drivers for expenses.
The previous maximum was $1500. The ordinance will take effect Nov. 12.
“As we all know, just one DUI incident can cause a lot of damage and suffering,” WPD Chief Ron Coopman said. “We’re hoping to assist the city in recovering huge expenses from accident scenes and arrests.”
The new ordinance reflects a state law that allows cities to recover expenses by billing DUI offenders for costs relating to the crime and conviction. The law was recently amended to increase the maximum amount and to give cities more power to collect.
“The current system is an ‘on your honor’ system,” Coopman said. “There is no mechanism for recovery in place.”
Coopman added that the new system will identify recoverable actions and give police resources to get money back.
The ordinance is not retroactive, meaning that anyone who gets a DUI conviction before the ordinance takes effect will pay up to $1500 for expenses, not $4000.
Payment plans have been and will continue to be available for those with economic hardships, Coopman said.
The council opened the meeting by recognizing WPD Police Explorers for their achievements at a county-wide Summer Explorer Academy. WPD explorers won the most awards during competitions. The event was sponsored by the Orange County Law Enforcement Explorer Advisor Association.
Explorers are volunteers between ages 14 to 21. They work part-time in the department and often serve at public events.
“Whenever we need help with anything, you are there and you do a great job,” Mayor Margie Rice told the group of 18 explorers. “We’re very proud of you.”
Also during the meeting, council member Frank Fry warned that Tiger Mosquitoes have been spotted in Southern California. Fry sits on the Orange County Vector Control Board of Trustees.
“That’s one mosquito we absolutely want to keep under control,” he said.
If you can get close enough to one, you can recognize a tiger mosquito by its tiger-like stripes. Otherwise the tiger mosquito is unique because it bites during the day. Most mosquito species bite in early morning or in the evening.
Anyone that thinks they have seen or were bitten by a tiger mosquito should call Vector Control at (714) 971-2421.
The council delayed the public hearing for the proposed “monopine” antenna system until Nov. 9.