Ogle County Joins Winnebago County's DUI Program

STATELINE (WIFR) -- Despite warnings from police, slogans, and campaigns drivers still get behind the wheel when they've had too much to drink. Now a successful DUI program in Winnebago County includes Ogle County.

“I was the one that drank, I was the one that drove and it’s the truth you know,” Brad Thompkins, who has two DUI’s, said.

It took Thompkins two DUI convictions and a court ordered program called Accepting Responsibility is Mandatory, or ARM, to come to that realization.

“They actually work with you to find a solution and to help you understand better what you did,” he explained.

Winnebago County is the only in the state that hosts the program, but about 10 other area counties take part and Ogle County is the newest addition. State’s Attorney Michael Rock says the one hour class second time DUI offenders went through just wasn't working.

“It’s the same exact program they were ordered to do their first time DUI, albeit it was a very powerful program, the fact it didn't work the first time, I didn't see why we were ordering them to do it again,” Rock said.

The ARM program is an intense weekend course that teaches offenders to accept responsibility for their actions and change their behavior.

"It really makes an impact on the person that I’ve had one DUI and it's got to stop here," 17th Circuit Court Judge Ronald White, said.

Judge White started the program in Winnebago County in 2001. He says less than 10 percent of ARM participants end up back in court for DUI.

Thompkins is just one of thousands of success stories and now he's sharing the lessons he learned with others.

"I did a speech at West Middle School on drinking and driving and drugs and alcohol and I would have never done that if I hadn't went through the program," Thompkins said.

Ogle County is just getting started with the program. Seven people have been ordered to the course but they haven't actually done it yet.

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