Holiday anti-DWI campaign: 16 arrests, no fatal incidents

Posted: Wednesday, January 08, 2003

FAIRBANKS - A two-week campaign over the holidays to crack down on drunken driving resulted in 16 arrests statewide, Alaska State Troopers said.

Troopers whose overtime was funded by a special grant made 462 traffic stops, issued 106 citations and made 16 arrests for drunken driving.

The campaign of stepped-up enforcement wound up this past weekend.

In Southeast, troopers working 58 hours of overtime stopped 142 vehicles but didn't arrest any drivers. In Juneau, the police didn't make any drunken-driving arrests on Dec. 31. But Juneau police arrested four suspected drunken drivers on Jan. 1.

Trooper Lt. Lee Farmer, deputy detachment commander and head of the patrol unit in Fairbanks, said the extra effort was worth it.

"We had no fatal accidents. I am extremely happy about that," he said.

Having two extra troopers patrolling Fairbanks thanks to the overtime grant may not sound like a lot. But Farmer said normally he has 19 people to cover most of the Fairbanks borough 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During a normal shift, troopers have to fit traffic enforcement in between responding to other calls.

A state grant allowed the extra troopers, on overtime, to do nothing but look for drunken drivers. Farmer said that between Dec. 20 and Jan. 2, troopers statewide arrested 20 people for drunken driving.

Of those arrests, nine were made by troopers on the campaign. On Jan. 3 and 4, campaign troopers made another seven drunken-driving arrests, for a total of 16.

According to Lt. Ralph Reyes of Alaska State Troopers headquarters in Anchorage, the $115,000 grant will fund three campaigns: the one that just ended, one during the Fourth of July holiday, and one next December and January in four trooper detachments across the state.

In addition to catching people driving drunk, Reyes said the campaigns aim to be a deterrent. The one that just ended was advertised in the various communities, he said.

"The purpose is for people not to drink and drive, so, hopefully, by the general public being aware we are out there ... they will take steps to not be arrested," Reyes said.

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