Police release Labor Day enforcement totals

By BILL POWELL
bpowell@dcherald.com

Local law enforcement agencies have released details of extra Labor Day patrols that took place between mid-August and the just-completed holiday.

The Dubois County Sheriff’s Office, Jasper Police Department, Huntingburg Police Department and Indiana State Police were among 230 Hoosier law enforcement agencies participating in the national and statewide 2019 Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign.

Jasper police worked 60 hours of overtime during the 25-day period, according to Assistant Chief Aaron Persohn. During the campaign, Jasper officers made 128 traffic stops, issuing 189 written warnings and 26 traffic citations. There were also seven arrests made during the blitz. The totals marked an uptick of eight additional tickets and five additional arrests over last year’s tally.

Huntingburg Assistant Police Chief Brad Kramer said his officers issued eight traffic citations, gave out 127 warnings and made three arrests during “Drive Sober” enforcement.

“Highly visible, data-driven traffic enforcement has been proven to deter impaired driving,” Kramer said. “Our commitment to enforcing the law and saving lives continues throughout the year.”

The sheriff’s office also made an arrest during the mobilization and deputies issued 22 traffic citations during the holiday period, according to Chief Deputy Chris Faulkenberg. That was nine more tickets than were meted out last Labor Day.

“Drive Sober” totals from Indiana State Police at the Jasper Post were not immediately available, although state police issued reminders about the campaign during the holiday weekend.

Troopers warned the public that the unofficial end of summer trends toward being a dangerous time on roadways. Last year during the Labor Day weekend, state police reported that 2,101 crashes occurred throughout Indiana resulting in 507 injuries and fifteen fatalities.

It is illegal to drive in every state and the District of Columbia with a blood alcohol content of .08 grams per deciliter or higher. In Indiana, drivers under 21 with a BAC of .02 or higher are subject to fines and a license suspension for up to one year.

But impaired driving includes more than alcohol and police note there is no quick field test for the many prescription, over-the-counter and illegal drugs that can impair drivers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration puts the average cost of an OWI at about $10,000, which includes car towing and repairs, attorney fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work and other hefty expenses.

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over is an annual enforcement effort supported by federal NHTSA funding allocated to local police agencies through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute’s traffic safety division. Indiana law enforcement agencies have been actively involved in the Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign for more than 20 years.

Motorists encountering a suspected drunk driver are urged to call 911. Witnesses should be prepared to give a complete description of the vehicle, including color and make, along with a license plate number, road on which the vehicle is being operated and direction of travel. Callers may remain anonymous.

To stay safe, police offer additional tips:

• Plan a safe way home before festivities begin.

• Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home. If you’re impaired, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation when available.

• If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take the keys and help that person make other arrangements to get to where he or she is going, safely.

• Celebrate at home or a place where you can stay until sober.

• Never provide alcohol to minors.

• Ask young drivers about their plans.

• Drivers should also watch for impaired pedestrians who may not be paying attention to their surroundings.




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