By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
For the ninth year, Enid Police Department again will participate in a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration grant.
Lt. Mark Blodgett, who oversees the grant for the department, said about a dozen officers participate in the grant, which is voluntary. He said the grant pays for overtime for the officers to conduct enhanced DUI enforcement and other traffic-safety mobilizations.
“We’re projected to have 1,145 hours for DUI and another 572 hours for other traffic enforcement, such as Click It or Ticket and other mobilizations,” Blodgett said. “All the officers that work the project are trained in field sobriety and other testing methods, to determine if a driver is impaired or not.”
In 2011, EPD officers made 236 DUI arrests, according to police records. In 2012, the department had 189 DUI arrests.
“Driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is a risk not worth taking,” Blodgett said. “When driving drunk, you not only risk going to jail, you also risk taking the chance of being in a crash that could seriously injure or even kill yourself and others. We practice zero tolerance. If you’re intoxicated and driving, you are going to jail. There are no warnings or calling someone to give you a ride home.”
Sheriff Jerry Niles said the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office is applying for an NHSTA grant for overtime pay for deputies.
In addition to the grant, Niles said the department also works closely with PreventionWorkz in keeping teens and kids from alcohol.
“We’re going to be attacking drinking and driving from several different fronts,” Niles said. “Obviously, we’re adults and we should act like adults and be accountable and be held to the responsibilities we’ve acquired through age.”
Last year, Niles said deputies made 78 arrests for DUI. The year before that number was 59. Deputies made 78 arrests in 2010, 50 in 2009 and 42 DUI arrests in 2008.
He said most DUIs can be prevented with responsible planning.
“Designating driver is very crucial,” Niles said. “To have a good time you don’t have to have alcohol.
“We should weigh the cost of what drinking and driving does to us.”