Police Departments Use Grants to Crack Down on Drunk Driving

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COLUMBIA - Missouri law enforcement agencies are finishing up a push to take drunk drivers off the road. Police departments across the state increased patrols last weekend as a part of a statewide crack down on drunk driving. The extra push came on one of law enforcement's busiest weekends.

"Spring break has started for many colleges, so the traffic is increased because of that, and it is St. Patrick's weekend and there's a lot of parties for that as well," Missouri State Highway Patrol Sergeant Paul Reinsch.

The Columbia Police increased patrols on Thursday, Friday and Sunday nights and conducted a sobriety checkpoint on Saturday night.

Local law enforcement agencies received grants from MoDOT to conduct sobriety checkpoints, including a $5,000 grant to the Columbia Police Department.

The Columbia Police Department used that grant to pay overtime for officers putting extra hours in over the weekend. DWI enforcement officer Lori Simpson said traffic officers, patrol officers and detectives help out with the sobriety checkpoints. Officers from Hallsville and the Missouri State Highway Patrol participated in Saturday night's checkpoint as well.

And many Columbia residents do not mind spending tax dollars on drunk driving enforcement.

"As long as people are safe, I think it is a good use of money," said MU student Natalie Helms.

Saturday's sober checkpoint went from 11:45 Saturday night to 2:45 Sunday morning. The Columbia Police Department was also helped by volunteers from the community and MADD.

The Columbia Police Department arrested 6 people for driving while intoxicated over the weekend.