WDAY.com

WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published August 21, 2011, 09:11 PM

MN Officers Increase DWI Patrol Efforts

As students come back to school and families go to the lakes for the weekend, Minnesota officers want you to know that they're out on the roads. Enhanced DWI enforcement began Friday and will continue through the holiday weekend.

As students come back to school and families go to the lakes for the weekend, Minnesota officers want you to know that they're out on the roads. Enhanced DWI enforcement began Friday and will continue through the holiday weekend.

"Buzzed driving is drunk driving. Just because you've only had a couple doesn't mean you're necessarily capable of driving," East Grand Forks Police Officer Aeisso Schrage said.

And that's what Minnesota officers want drivers to know. Crookston Police, East Grand Forks Police, and the Polk County Sherriff's Deputies are stepping up patrol efforts.

"We've got our standard patrol shift, and then we have additional officers, one or two, that's all they do is traffic and DWI enforcement," Schrage said.

Each year about 30,000 Minnesotans are arrested for DWI. Last year 254 of those arrests were in Polk County. Now through Labor Day weekend officers are stepping up enforcement to ensure safety for all motorists.

"I'm all for it, I'm a fan of that. Anything to increase public safety is a good thing, and anything to keep the drunk drivers off the road or even drivers that are too tired trying to go too far distance. I think it's a great idea," motorist Dan Bowley said.

"It's ideal. In fact the DWI's and the way they're going right now, I just think it's an excellent idea. If we can get more on the road, more power to us," motorist Norm Swenson said.

In the past three years Polk County has had 156 DWI arrests and one alcohol-related death. Officers want to keep those number down and make sure the roads are safe for everyone during this busy time of year.

"If you see something that you think may constitute drunk driving or reckless driving or actually most often we have people that are texting or falling asleep at the wheel and appears to be drunk driving and is just as dangerous. If you witness something like that don't be afraid to call 911," Schrage said.

DWI offenders in Minnesota now have to use an ignition lock, or face at least one year without a driver's license. The ignition lock requires a breath sample in order for the vehicle to start.

Tags: