Holiday campaign results in 16 drunken driving arrests

Posted: Wednesday, January 08, 2003

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

Troopers 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.

The statewide, grant-funded operation put an average of two additional troopers on area roads during peak drunken-driving hours for 10 days. The campaign began Dec. 20.

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

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

While two troopers may not sound like a lot, Farmer said that he normally has 19 people to cover most of the borough 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And during a normal shift, troopers have to fit traffic enforcement in between responding to other calls.

''Random patrol gives you random results,'' he said. ''When they are in this type of project, then they are left alone unless an extreme emergency comes up.''

The grant money allowed the extra troopers, on overtime, to do nothing but look for drunken drivers. Farmer said that between Dec. 20 and Jan. 2, troopers 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.

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 detachments across the state.

In addition to catching people driving drunk, Reyes said the campaigns aim to be a deterrent as well. 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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