SHA grant to fund extra police on roads over holiday weekend

August 30, 1996|By Dana Hedgpeth | Dana Hedgpeth,SUN STAFF

Howard County police will be out in force this holiday weekend as part of a grant from the State Highway Administration to reduce drunken driving and accidents.

About 30 extra officers will be using radar, laser and VASCAR speed calculators to enforce speed limits along heavily traveled roads over the three-day Labor Day weekend, said Sgt. Steven Keller, a Howard County police spokesman. Officers also will target seat belt use and set up sobriety checkpoints.

"By making people slow down, wear their seat belts and getting drunk drivers off the roads, we can reduce the number of accidents," Keller said. "The holiday is a time where people are out celebrating with their friends and families and relaxing, but drinking and then driving puts a serious danger out there on the roads.

"We're trying to get people to slow down and drive responsibly," he said. "This is a holiday, not a time of tragedy or mourning for those hurt in accidents from speeding or drunk driving."

Over the Labor Day weekend last year, 24 accidents and 19 driving-while-intoxicated arrests were recorded in the county, he said.

The $11,500 state grant also paid for overtime expenses incurred in putting 30 to 34 additional county officers on the roads during the peak of the Memorial Day and July Fourth weekends. They issued 300 traffic tickets over the two holidays and made 25 DWI arrests, Keller said.

Pub Date: 8/30/96

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