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Check points to take place

Thursday, July 26, 2007

THAYER -- "You Drink & Drive. You Lose." This is not only the slogan but the attitude law enforcement agencies in four counties in southern Missouri have adopted and will be enforcing the first weekend in August.

Thayer Police Chief Frank Bernard said officers with the Thayer Police Department will join law enforcement officers from Phelps, Texas and Howell counties in an impaired driving enforcement effort.

"To the best of my knowledge this is the first time Thayer officers have been involved in such an operation," the police chief said.

Eleven agencies in the four counties have been invited to participate in the effort.

Bernard said this will be more or less a sobriety check point. "This will probably be done in the evening. It will depend on the flow of traffic if we stop every vehicle or not. If traffic is heavy, we may be able to just stop every other vehicle," he said.

A news release from Troop G of the Missouri Highway Patrol said the check points will be set up along Highway 63 in an effort to increase safety.

Bernard said although by law, enforcement agencies have to announce when they are going to do the sobriety check points, they do not have to give a specific location as to where they are going to be established.

"We will be looking for those who are driving not only under the influence of drugs and alcohol but also other traffic violations," the police chief said.

In 2006, 67 arrests were made in the city of Thayer alone for driving under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. So far this year, Bernard said 33 arrests have been made for the same offenses.

The police chief said driving under the influence remains one of the top causes of fatal car crashes in Missouri. In 2006, 273 people in Missouri were killed in crashes involving alcohol.

"Enforcement efforts like this one help to take impaired drivers off the road and make travel not only in our town or county, but also in the state safer," he said.

The police chief said the area definitely has a driving impaired problem. "This is a problem not only in Missouri, but especially in a city like ours when we border another city in another state that is dry and local residents as well as tourist come to our town to purchase alcohol," he said.

newsopinion@yahoo.com



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