Press-Republican

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February 1, 2013

Clinton County STOP-DWI gears up for big game

PLATTSBURGH — As Super Bowl Sunday nears, local law enforcement agencies are already cracking down on drunken driving.

“Agencies will be out in force, utilizing sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols to deter drunk driving,” STOP-DWI New York said in the press release. Those who are impaired by illegal and prescription drugs will also be under scrutiny.

In addition to being a period of law enforcement vigilance against drunken driving statewide, Feb. 1 through 4 this year is a crackdown period for Clinton County STOP-DWI, said Sergeant Frank Mercier, the program’s coordinator.

In Clinton County, all the fines generated from DWI arrests, about $250,000 from 500 DWI cases, completely cover the cost of the STOP-DWI program at no expense to the taxpayer, Mercier said.

Clinton County STOP-DWI will use a budget of $317,779 this year for costs associated with enforcement, prosecution, probation, rehabilitation, public information/education and administration.

The budget also funds non-alcoholic after-prom parties at local high schools, Students Against Destructive Decisions (S.A.D.D.), commercials, education for students and the public and extra DWI enforcement patrols, among other measures.

Also assisting law enforcement and parole departments in the effort to stop drunken driving are the Clinton County Mental Health and Addiction Services and the speakers of the Victim’s Impact Panel.

NEW INITIATIVES

This year, STOP-DWI is looking to work with Clinton County Public Transportation to display anti-drunken driving ads on public buses, Mercier said. Details and board vote are forthcoming, he said.

In an attempt to give STOP-DWI “more of a positive note,” a designated drivers initiative that is in its final planning stages would award a free Stewart’s coffee to designated drivers who pass through checkpoints, Mercier said.

Local law enforcement agencies will offer Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS) to restaurants, hotels, bars, nightclubs and all on-premise liquor license holders in the county free of charge, Mercier said.

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