Arizona legislation has passed the House that would allow law enforcement to arrest subjects for public drunkenness, reversing a 1974 statute that has tied the hands of officers.
Senate Bill 1082, which was introduced by Republican Sen. Sylvia Allen, addresses safety hazards created by those who are chronically intoxicated in public, reports the Arizona Journal.
The bill would allow law enforcement to enforce a mandatory 48-hour hold of publicly impaired individuals in detox centers or other facilities, with the intention of allowing individuals to completely sober up and, hopefully, agree to enter a detox program.
Public intoxication has become an issue in Scottsdale's lively nightclub and restaurant scene. Officers who encounter intoxicated people who stumble into the roadway are forced to "babysit them" until a friend can pick them up, instead of arresting them, said Sgt. Mark Clark, Scottsdale PD's public information officer.
"We would like to have the ability to get people off the street who are a danger to themselves and others," Clark said about the new bill. "We're supportive of any tool to get an intoxicated person off the street."
By Paul Clinton