"Columbus, Ga. was a city in which drunken driving was a crime aggressively pursued in the past, including the use of task force operations and regular checkpoints to take DUI offenders off the roadways. But from 1997-2002, Columbus DUI arrests dropped more than 50 percent. By 2002, more than a third of all DUI arrests were the result of accidents, not enforcement measures." Reporter Jim Houston of the Ledger-Inquirer discovered this disturbing trend by using computer-assisted reporting to analyze such records as the state and superior court records of DUI offenses over five years and records of liquor licenses issued over the same period. Further investigation revealed that a double-digit manpower shortage of police officers, coupled with a lack of compliance, were partly to blame. A brief follow-up story published on June 21, 2003 is included as well, noting the effect of the original story on local law enforcement agencies - including the city police and county sheriff's department's decision to join forces on the DUI issue.