SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — This week, the San Francisco Police Department begins a new enforcement tactic on chronic and troublesome inebriates.

Looking to reduce the amount of people passed out drunk in doorways or sidewalks, SIP or the Serial Inebriate Program looks to help these people dry out.

Police Chief Greg Suhr said officers know which people are routine offenders. The program takes a page from a successful program in San Diego, which has been in place for 10 years, which raises the stakes for being drunk in public.

“Beginning May 1st, we’ll be putting people in the sobering center for treatment if they hit the five-time threshold. On the sixth time they’ll be arrested for being drunk in public as a misdemeanor and then they’re going to have to choose services or go through the criminal justice process,” Suhr said.

District Attorney George Gascon said it would save the city money and force offenders who oftentimes get cited, released and never show up in court to actually take responsibility.

“Some of those people are costing us nearly a million dollars a year and we know that we can provide a much higher quality of service to the very same individual for a fraction of the cost,” he said.

Despite fears of clogging the courts with misdemeanors, the program in San Diego only goes to trial on these cases twice a year.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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