McMinnville Police Department has finished a successful year of saturated patrols and is gearing up for another one. The effort has reduced the number of arrests for driving under the influence.
So far this year, the department has made 74 DUI arrests and there have been three DUI-related accidents. In 2012, there were 101 DUI arrests and five DUI-related accidents.
“The results of this program were not surprising,” said Mark Mara. “When you have more officers on the road during the most needed times, you are going to see a reduction in DUIs and accidents involving impaired drivers. I know the year is not complete, but I don’t see us getting anywhere close to last year’s number.”
Each fiscal year the department applies for and receives a grant from the Governor’s Highway Safety Office to fund saturated patrols, which is an extra patrol on the streets looking for impaired drivers. The grant pays the overtime salary of officers and any items needed from October to September.
“We do this grant to reduce DUI-related accidents,” said Mara. “This grant and program is a huge success. The department and citizens of our community look forward to continuing to do saturated patrols in hopes of curving a bad habit.”
During fiscal year October 2012 to September 2013, officers conducted seven saturated patrols, made 130 traffic stops and made two DUI arrests. During the saturated patrol times, only one DUI-related accident was recorded.
This month, the department was given a $25,000 grant for fiscal year 2013-14. Mara says the amount is an increase of $6,000 given last time.
“Along with paying for any overtime salary created by the saturated patrols, the grant will be used to purchase portable breath testing equipment that we can use to determine if a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” said Mara.
Saturated patrols are conducted on holidays, like New Year’s weekend, and when drivers might be more likely to drive intoxicated, like on Super Bowl Sunday. The department works with the media to give public notice about when the patrols will take place.