Police release post-blitz Labor Day totals


JASPER — Local law enforcement agencies have released details of extra Labor Day patrols that took place between Aug. 10 and Sept. 3.

As it has for more than 20 years, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute funded overtime hours for the annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign. Nearly 230 Hoosier law enforcement agencies took part; that group included the Dubois County Sheriff’s Department, Jasper Police Department and Indiana State Police from the Jasper post.

In southern Indiana, officers conducted high-visibility saturation patrols, sobriety checkpoints and other activities designed to deter impaired driving in the lead-up to the Labor Day holiday.

The Jasper Police Department was able to work 46 hours of overtime during the 24-day period. Officers issued 18 tickets while meting out 164 warnings. Jasper police also charged one person for dealing and possessing 360 grams of marijuana and made one warrant arrest during the 124 traffic stops associated with the enforcement campaign.

“Highly visible, data-driven traffic enforcement such as this has been proven to deter impaired driving,” said Jasper Assistant Chief of Police Aaron Persohn. “Our commitment to enforcing the law and saving lives continues throughout the year.”

Dubois County Sheriff’s Department deputies issued 73 traffic warnings and gave out 13 traffic tickets. Six drivers received citations for seat belt violations and there was one impaired driving arrest.

Results from extra patrols by troopers at the Jasper Post were not immediately availalbe.

The Huntingburg Police Department is using a $7,000 grant from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute to pay for extra patrols through Sept. 24 in a program called The Summer Impaired Driving Enforcement Project. Those enforcement totals will be released after that blitz concludes

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 10,497 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in all of 2016, which works out to one person killed every 50 minutes. On average, 10,000 people were killed each year from 2012 to 2016.

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

A DUI arrest means going to jail and losing a driver’s license. The NHTSA 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.

Since 2017, more than 2,600 portable breath tests have been purchased for state and local law enforcement agencies across Indiana.

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

This year, police officers highly trained to recognize and enforce drug-impaired driving were issued Android tablets to simplify documentation for prosecution.

Even over-the-counter medication can cause impairment, especially when combined with alcohol or a second drug, according to law enforcement.

Motorists encountering a suspected impaired 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.

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