WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published December 04, 2009, 09:18 PM

Police Conducting Weekend DUI Patrols

The Grand Forks police department has four extra officers on duty this weekend looking for drunk drivers and suspicious activity on the road.

By: Joel Porter, WDAZ

Several more police officers will be on patrol around Grand Forks tonight making DUI arrests.

Thanks to some grant money, the department can pay an additional four officers to be on the street.

All in an effort to spread the message that inhibited driving is not OK, especially so close to the holidays.

Grand Forks streets are being watched a little closer than normal this evening. Four extra police officers will be on traffic detail, watching for drunk driving signs.

"Swerve driving, driving without headlights, improper turns, excessive speeds, disregarding traffic signals," Lt. Grant Schiller of the Grand Forks police department said.

Tonight is the first of a two-night DUI saturation patrol. It's something the department does about four times a year.

"It's proven to be very successful, we were able to generate some pretty impressive stats out of this program and we've got a lot of DUIs to support that," Schiller said.

The department of transportation pays for the patrols with more than five thousand dollars in grant money. The money covers the officers' overtime as they make the rounds until about 3 a-m.

"What we're looking for ultimately is voluntary compliance where people are smart enough not to drive, they have the designated driver or they'll call a cab," Schiller said.

Schiller says throughout the patrol, it's not their goal to hunt down and harass drivers, but instead create awareness of safe driving habits.

"Simply not get behind the wheel even if they've had a small amount of alcohol, I think the education's working and we're seeing that in a reduction of some of our numbers," Schiller said.

After this weekend, the final reports and arrest records are sent back to the state to gauge the success rate of the patrols and secure funding for future efforts as well.