News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 0815201302
Subject :

Police Chief Invites Public on DUI Patrol via Twitter on Friday
Contact : Zach Perron, Lieutenant, Police Department    650-329-2413
Palo Alto, CA -- Chief Dennis Burns will be conducting another "virtual ride-along" via Twitter Friday night, this time with a focus on tracking down and arresting impaired drivers as part of the county-wide “Avoid the 13” Summer / Labor Day Holiday DUI Crackdown.

Starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, August 16, 2013, and running until at least 2 a.m., Chief Burns will get behind the wheel of a DUI patrol car to target impaired drivers and to locate people with DUI arrest warrants.  A member of our Public Information Officer team will be riding with him and live-tweeting his activities on the official Department Twitter account, @PaloAltoPolice.

The “Avoid the 13” Summer / Labor Day Holiday DUI Crackdown seeks to publicize the combined DUI enforcement efforts of the 13 law enforcement agencies in Santa Clara County in order to save lives, get impaired drivers off the road, and raise the public's awareness of the tragic consequences of drunk driving.  This summer’s “Avoid the 13” enforcement period starts at 12:01 a.m. on August 16 and runs through the end of Labor Day on September 2.

“As long as I’ve been a police officer, I have never gotten used to the sorrow I feel when I’m called to the scene of a crash where someone has died as a result of drunk driving,” said Chief Burns.  “Yet this senseless loss of human life is a daily reality all over America, year after year.  We are committed to ending this tragedy in Santa Clara County.”

All tweets will include the hashtags “PAPDvra” (for “Palo Alto Police Department virtual ride-along”) and “Avoid13” (for “Avoid the 13”).  Twitter users can ask us questions during the ride-along by using the “PAPDvra” hashtag or simply by mentioning us.  We will answer questions as time allows.  We estimate sending between 100 and 250 tweets during the eight-hour ride-along, depending on the volume of activity and the level of engagement with the public.  Some tweets will include educational information and facts about impaired driving.  This will be the fourth “virtual ride-along” via Twitter that the Department has done since November 2012, but it is the first one with a DUI focus.

Chief Burns began his career as an officer with the Palo Alto Police Department in 1982.  Since then, he has held every rank and has worked virtually every assignment within the Department.  He became the interim Police Chief in December 2008, and was named the Police Chief in September 2009.  He commands an agency with 161 personnel and an annual budget of over $30 million.  He also served as the interim chief of the Palo Alto Fire Department from July 2010 to December 2012.  He is the current president of the Santa Clara County Police Chiefs’ Association.

The Palo Alto Police Department launched all of its social media platforms in March 2012.  Since then, our Twitter account has gained more than 4,200 followers and our Facebook page has gained more than 4,100 “likes.”  Links to all our social media platforms can be found at