Enforcement and Compliance (ECD)

ADOT officers trained to identify, respond to opioid overdoses

ADOT officers trained to identify, respond to opioid overdoses

I-17 101 traffic interchange

ADOT officers trained to identify, respond to opioid overdoses

ADOT officers trained to identify, respond to opioid overdoses

August 15, 2018

PHOENIX – While working at ports of entry to ensure that commercial vehicles have the proper permits and can operate safely on state highways, Arizona Department of Transportation officers have to be ready for situations in which they’re called upon to help save a life.

That’s why nearly 100 officers, part of ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division, have been trained so far to identify opioid overdoses and administer a drug to reverse the effects.

“One of the worst feelings as a law enforcement officer is being unable to help someone in an emergency situation,” said Sergeant Sean Dalley with the Enforcement and Compliance Division. “Having the right tools and knowing how to use them is a way to ensure we are always in a position to act fast when called upon.”

ADOT officers who have gone through the training now carry Naloxone, a type of drug known as an opioid antagonist.

“This kind of training allows our officers to respond quickly to various types of situations at the ports of entry and in the field,” said Tim Lane, director of the Enforcement and Compliance Division. “ADOT looks to do its part in helping combat opioid abuse in Arizona.”

ADOT has set a goal of training an additional 100 officers before year’s end.

Since Governor Doug Ducey declared a statewide emergency in June 2017 to address opioid overdoses and deaths, Arizona has expanded access to Naloxone and training among first responders. The Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act, passed in January, enables county health department employees, detention officers, police aides and other ancillary law enforcement and corrections officers to administer such drugs.

“Training and equipping more responders, including officers at commercial ports of entry, is another way we are taking serious action in response to the statewide emergency of opioid overdoses and deaths,” Governor Doug Ducey said. “Too many Arizonans lose their lives as a result of an opioid overdose, and Arizona will continue to be vigilant in combating this epidemic."

The first training for ADOT officers, offered by the Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority in partnership with the Arizona Department of Health Services, consisted of identifying opioid overdoses and administering Naloxone. Officers also learned CPR, trauma response and how to protect themselves from opioid exposure.

ADOT’s truck driver training in Mexico marks successful first year

ADOT’s truck driver training in Mexico marks successful first year

I-17 101 traffic interchange

ADOT’s truck driver training in Mexico marks successful first year

ADOT’s truck driver training in Mexico marks successful first year

July 30, 2018

NOGALES – On a Monday morning one year ago, five uniformed officers from the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Enforcement and Compliance Division drove south, crossing the Mexican border at San Luis south of Yuma on a mission that had never been attempted.

Their task: Make Arizona roads safer and boost the state’s economy by training Mexican truck drivers and mechanics – in Mexico – about the safety regulations they must follow to drive on U.S. roads.

In its first year, the International Border Inspection Qualification program has made a dramatic difference in the number of violations found during safety inspections, the number of trucks pulled off the road for significant repairs and the amount of time drivers spend waiting at the border before they can deliver their products to U.S. markets.

“This collaboration with the Mexican trucking industry makes crossing the border safer for everyone,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “It also supports the growth of Arizona’s economy and makes crossing the border more efficient for commercial trucking. The dramatic improvements we have seen in just one year show the commitment of our officers and the trucking community to this important program.”

In 16 two-day training sessions over the past 12 months, safety inspectors have taught 409 truck drivers and mechanics from Mexico such things as how to secure a load properly and how to know when tires and brakes are too badly worn. Six more sessions are scheduled in Mexico before the end of 2018.

The training follows Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance guidelines, which are the standard for commercial motor vehicles across the U.S., used by every state and federal agency.

The numbers for these 409 drivers shout success:

  • They have crossed the border 5,253 times since their training.
  • In all of those crossings, inspectors have found just 130 minor violations.
  • Only 11 times have their trucks been pulled out of service for significant safety concerns.
  • June is one of three months so far in 2018 when no drivers who were qualified through the program had significant safety violations.

There’s more to the story.

Drivers who complete the training and pass written and field exams are able to communicate with inspectors using the WhatsApp smartphone application. That process has been used 118 times, allowing drivers to ask questions and make repairs before approaching the border, saving what could have been time wasted waiting.

The program stems from ADOT’s use of the Arizona Management System championed by Governor Doug Ducey to have all employees continuously improve state agencies’ value to their customers.

ADOT’s Border Liaison Unit, created in 2016, also has continued shorter training sessions at Arizona’s three border ports of entry in San Luis, Nogales and Douglas. Nearly 2,000 drivers, mechanics and company owners have attended those sessions.

Drivers from Mexico have praised ADOT for giving them information they need to reduce inspection times and get on their way. The business community in Nogales has praised the program for increasing commercial truck traffic and bringing more business to Santa Cruz County. And drivers all across Arizona are safer because the trucks sharing the road with them are safer.

Companies and communities in Mexico are continuing to request that training sessions be held in their areas. Of the six programs scheduled over the rest of 2018, only one is scheduled near the Arizona border. Three programs are scheduled in Mexicali, Baja California, and single sessions are scheduled in Caborca and Hermosillo in Sonora.

“We’re getting requests from places away from the Arizona border – Mexicali, Ensenada, Caborca,” said Tim Lane, director of ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division. “That shows how well the program has been accepted not only in Sonora but across Mexico.”

ADOT officers using K-9 units to combat illegal drugs, human smuggling

ADOT officers using K-9 units to combat illegal drugs, human smuggling

I-17 101 traffic interchange

ADOT officers using K-9 units to combat illegal drugs, human smuggling

ADOT officers using K-9 units to combat illegal drugs, human smuggling

July 6, 2018

PHOENIX – To help reduce smuggling of drugs and people and in alignment with Governor Doug Ducey’s commitment to public safety, Arizona Department of Transportation officers at commercial ports of entry in eastern and western Arizona are using the agency’s first K-9 units.

Between December and May, the two K-9 units, based at the Interstate 10 Ehrenberg Port of Entry near California and the Interstate 40 Sanders Port of Entry near New Mexico, have helped officers seize in excess of 350 pounds of marijuana, 600 vials of hash oil and $90,000 in illicit bulk currency. They have inspected hundreds of vehicles and aided other law enforcement agencies on dozens of occasions.

“Protecting public safety is the No. 1 responsibility of state government,” Governor Ducey said. “We’re committed to making sure law enforcement agencies, including the highly trained officers keeping watch at our commercial ports of entry, have the resources they need to combat drug trafficking and human smuggling.”

The units are part of ADOT's Enforcement and Compliance Division, which enforces laws involving commercial vehicle safety and permits, registration and driver’s license fraud, and unlicensed auto dealers, among other areas.

While conducting safety inspections of commercial vehicles, ADOT officers occasionally discover apparent criminal activity that includes smuggling of drugs, cash, weapons and people. At the I-40 Topock Port of Entry alone, ADOT officers have seized 686 pounds of marijuana, 21 pounds of methamphetamine and 53 pounds of cocaine since 2014.

“This is a matter of highway safety,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “Our officers, along with the Arizona Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement agencies, find illegal drugs and cases of human smuggling on our highways. Adding K-9s where we are already screening commercial vehicles makes us a more capable and effective team.”

The K-9s, both of the Belgian Malinois breed, are trained to detect illegal drugs and human cargo. From their bases in Ehrenberg and Sanders, the units work at interstate ports of entry along the California and New Mexico state lines.

The pilot program to obtain and train both K-9s cost $29,000.

Officers with ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division also investigate fraud involving driver licenses and vehicle titles and assist other law enforcement agencies when requested.

Crawling under semis in the name of continuous improvement

Crawling under semis in the name of continuous improvement

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Crawling under semis in the name of continuous improvement

Crawling under semis in the name of continuous improvement

June 15, 2018

By David Rookhuyzen / ADOT Communications

Using the Arizona Management System championed by Governor Doug Ducey, leaders learn by routinely going where work is done in what's known as a Gemba walk.

For our director, John Halikowski, this can include heading to our I-40 port of entry in Topock and rolling under a parked semitrailer. That's so he can learn how ADOT's Enforcement and Compliance Division conducts safety inspections on commercial vehicles. This particular Gemba walk also included riding shotgun when one of these state-certified peace officers takes off after a commercial vehicle that failed to stop at the port.

Gemba walks give the director and other ADOT leaders a chance to experience what employees do every day in the name of improving quality, safety and customer service.

The video above, produced for ADOT employees as part of our continuous improvement efforts, focuses on the police officers who concentrate on commercial vehicle safety and other transportation issues. These officers work at ports of entry and on state highways to make sure commercial vehicles are in compliance with permitting rules and regulations, size restrictions, and registration and equipment safety requirements.

Enforcement and Compliance Division officers also investigate title, registration and driver’s license fraud and unlicensed auto dealers, among other law enforcement duties.

You can learn more about how the Arizona Management System works at ADOT, including our many success stories, by visiting azdot.gov/AMS.

Throwback Thursday: Getting our kicks on Route 66 (or at least at the port of entry)

Throwback Thursday: Getting our kicks on Route 66 (or at least at the port of entry)

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Throwback Thursday: Getting our kicks on Route 66 (or at least at the port of entry)

Throwback Thursday: Getting our kicks on Route 66 (or at least at the port of entry)

May 31, 2018

By David Rookhuyzen / ADOT Communications

Today we're throwing back to these uniformed men standing outside the US 66 port of entry near Kingman in 1978.

These Motor Vehicle Division officers were being honored as ADOT employees of the month for repairing and remodeling the facility.

Until 2010, ADOT’s enforcement officers were part of the Motor Vehicle Division. Eight years ago, ADOT formed the Enforcement and Compliance Division to focus more on commercial vehicle safety.

That isn't the only change in the four decades since this photo was taken. Kelly Lightfoot, who oversees operations at the Kingman and Topock ports of entry, says ADOT’s current Kingman facility isn’t where it was back in 1978. A new structure on US 93 near State Route 68 opened in 1998.

The state-certified police officers with ADOT's Enforcement and Compliance Division focus on transportation issues including commercial vehicle enforcement, title, registration and driver’s license fraud, unlicensed auto dealers and commercial vehicle permits.

ADOT, law enforcement agencies band together during propane leak

ADOT, law enforcement agencies band together during propane leak

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ADOT, law enforcement agencies band together during propane leak

ADOT, law enforcement agencies band together during propane leak

May 3, 2018

Douglas Port of Entry

By Tom Herrmann / ADOT Communications

For most of us, the only time we worry about propane is when we’re lighting the backyard grill. And there isn't much to worry about, provided you follow some simple safety rules.

It's a different story when trucks are involved. A propane leak on a truck, such as one crossing the border, constitutes an emergency.

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Port of Entry Map

The law enforcement agencies that police Arizona’s international border crossings – U.S. Customs and Border Protection, ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division, Arizona Department of Public Safety and local officers – have very different roles. But teamwork helped everyone respond to an emergency when a valve began leaking on a propane tank attached to a large commercial vehicle crossing the border at Douglas recently.

Sgt. JJ Moreno and Sgt. Bill Mercer of the Enforcement and Compliance Division drove from ADOT’s commercial port of entry to the border, 2 miles away, to help assess the situation. Enforcement and Compliance Division officers Scott Long and Leandro Cruz, along with ADOT maintenance crews, assisted with keeping traffic away from the area.

Because officers had little room to maneuver at the border, ADOT offered its inspection station as a staging area for the agencies involved and a landing site for a Border Patrol helicopter. You can see all the vehicles in the photo at top.

Sergeant Moreno said the propane tank was only about 10 percent full, and wind helped disperse the gas and reduce the danger. Local firefighters secured the tank.

"We worked as a team," Moreno said. "Everybody came together to work as a unified command."

Because the agencies operate on different radio frequencies, they collaborated via cellphone – a challenge that Sergeant Mercer said the parties are addressing.

"We’re working with the other agencies to make sure that doesn’t happen in the future," Mercer said. "We already have a good working relationship, but we can improve our communication tools."

In Douglas, ADOT officers win Battle of the Badges blood drive

In Douglas, ADOT officers win Battle of the Badges blood drive

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In Douglas, ADOT officers win Battle of the Badges blood drive

In Douglas, ADOT officers win Battle of the Badges blood drive

March 20, 2018

Douglas ECD Officers

By Ryan Harding / ADOT Communications

Being smallest when it comes to numbers didn't keep Douglas-based ADOT Enforcement and Compliance Division officers from besting other public safety organizations in a Battle of the Badges blood drive.

On March 8, representatives from each participating agency, as well as members of the public, were encouraged to show up to donate blood and then vote for their favorite agency.

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Heart Award

ADOT took home the Heart Award, shown a right, for having 11 people donate blood. There are a total of 14 ADOT officers in the Douglas area.

"Donating blood is the right thing to do. I’ve always helped out with blood donation," said John Filippelli, one of the officers manning ADOT's commercial port of entry in Douglas. "The event itself was great and it gave us a chance to go out and show our camaraderie and brotherhood."

ADOT officers who participated were Officer Filippelli, Lt. Christina Parrish, Sgt. Saul Sanchez, Sgt. William Mercer, Officer Leandro Cruz, Officer Dale Rachilla, Officer Amy Jones, Officer Floyd Gregory, Officer Ramon Coronado, Officer Danny Romero and Officer Ben Stevens.

Other participating agencies included the Douglas Police Department, Douglas Fire Department, Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Arizona Department of Corrections and Arizona Department of Public Safety.

In all, Battle of the Badges yielded 44 units of blood.

ADOT officers assist local law enforcement in two northern Arizona arrests

ADOT officers assist local law enforcement in two northern Arizona arrests

I-17 101 traffic interchange

ADOT officers assist local law enforcement in two northern Arizona arrests

ADOT officers assist local law enforcement in two northern Arizona arrests

February 13, 2018

PHOENIX – In addition to protecting Arizonans and infrastructure by ensuring commercial vehicles are safe to drive on the state’s highways and have proper permits, Arizona Department of Transportation officers manning commercial ports of entry coordinate with local law enforcement agencies. That partnership paid off during the past week near St. George, Utah, and in Kingman where ADOT officers helped apprehend suspects in cases involving rape and theft.

On Sunday, an ADOT Enforcement and Compliance Division officer inspecting a semi at the St. George port of entry learned, while determining whether the driver’s commercial license was valid, that the driver, Thorpe G. Steel, was wanted in Utah for rape.

Stalling for time, the ADOT officer told Steel to wait in the port of entry office while he conducted a walk-around inspection of his truck. The officer contacted Utah State Troopers and continued to stall until a trooper arrived and arrested Steel.

On the evening of Feb. 6, two individuals broke into a Kingman man’s home and stole his 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser and other items. Around noon Feb. 7, two ADOT officers stationed at the Topock port of entry on I-40, heading back from training in Kingman, spotted what appeared to be the vehicle heading in the opposite direction.

Once they verified it was the vehicle, the ADOT officers contacted Kingman police dispatch as well as ADOT dispatch. Both ADOT and Kingman officers pulled the vehicle over on Stockton Hill Road, and the suspects were arrested without incident.

Christmas comes early for one truck driver

Christmas comes early for one truck driver

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Christmas comes early for one truck driver

Christmas comes early for one truck driver

December 25, 2017

By Tom Herrmann / ADOT Communications

Rafael Sanchez was eager to get his new truck back to his home before the holidays. Perhaps a little too eager.

Sanchez, a truck driver from just outside Dallas, Texas, had bought a truck from an acquaintance from his former hometown of Hawthorne, California. As he crossed the Colorado River into Arizona, he pulled into the port of entry, located in the median on Interstate 8 about a mile east of the state line.

Not knowing the port was closed at that hour, he looked in a manila envelope and removed permits to show safety inspectors, and then set the envelope down on his truck. Finding the office closed, Sanchez climbed back in his truck, pulled back onto I-8 and headed for Texas.

Unfortunately, the manila envelope was still sitting on the side of his truck. As he brought his truck up to freeway speed, the envelope blew off. He realized the problem about 15 miles later, but it was too late. The envelope – containing Sanchez’s passport, Social Security card, receipts, truck title and other papers – was gone. Two trips up and down I-8 failed to find it.

He called inspectors with ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division and explained the problem. Bruce Fenske, a senior operations engineer with ADOT, asked the Arizona Department of Corrections to have inmate work crews cleaning litter along the interstate to keep an eye out for the missing envelope.

Wednesday morning, a member of one of those inmate work crews found the envelope in the I-8 median. The envelope, its contents having survived the adventure, headed back to a grateful Sanchez via the mail.

“I have been praying that you guys would find it, and my prayers were answered,” he said. “I’m very happy to get it back. I was getting ready for Plan B, and I didn’t have a Plan B yet. I’m very thankful to you guys.”

Weigh-in-motion technology expands to more Arizona highways

Weigh-in-motion technology expands to more Arizona highways

I-17 101 traffic interchange

Weigh-in-motion technology expands to more Arizona highways

Weigh-in-motion technology expands to more Arizona highways

December 15, 2017

Allows trucks to keep moving while weight, credentials checked

YUMA – Weigh-in-motion technology that allows the Arizona Department of Transportation to check commercial trucks for their weight, permit and registration compliance while the trucks continue moving will be expanded to areas near Yuma and Gila Bend.

Next week ADOT crews will continue installing sensors in the roadway at three locations. Drivers in both directions should expect right lane restrictions and minor delays during the work:

  • Interstate 8 at milepost 121, just east of Butterfield Trail in Gila Bend, where work should be completed by Friday, Dec. 15.
  • State Route 85 at milepost 130, near Cotton Center, about 10 miles north of Gila Bend, on Monday, Dec. 19.
  • I-8 at milepost 16, east of Fortuna Road on Tuesday, Dec. 19, and Wednesday, Dec. 20.

A fourth weigh-in-motion sensor will be installed at milepost 1.8 in central Yuma in January. Lane restrictions and minor delays are expected at all sites while the work is being performed.

Also next week, from Monday through Wednesday, Dec. 18-20, crews will begin installing the second overhead electronic message board in the Yuma area on eastbound I-8 at milepost 0.5, just a half-mile east of the state line.

The project also includes installation of the Yuma area’s first closed-circuit camera that will help traffic operators in Phoenix see Yuma traffic in real time for the first time. Images from that camera eventually will be posted to AZ511.gov.

Weigh-in-motion technology allows officers from ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division to check the weight and registration of trucks without requiring the trucks to stop. Sensors in the roadway check the trucks’ weight and cameras check identification numbers to be sure the truck’s paperwork is in compliance with state requirements.

The camera technology does not measure or record vehicle speed and is not connected with any traffic enforcement for speeding violations.

Most commercial vehicles operate in compliance and will not be required to stop for inspections. That will result in more-efficient weight and truck screening operations, increased safety and less traffic congestion during truck inspection projects. Trucks found to be in violation will be subject to a closer inspection by ECD officers.

There are currently three weigh-in-motion programs in Arizona: Along I-17 near the McGuireville rest area, along I-10 near the Sacaton rest area and on I-17 near the Canoa Ranch rest area.