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By NATHAN GREGORY
Starkville Police Department and Oktibbeha County Sheriffâ€™s Department will participate in the statewide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign which began yesterday and runs through Sept. 3.
As part of the campaign, each law enforcement unit will have extra manpower patrolling the streets, looking for impaired drivers in an effort to keep streets safe for motorists
SPD Master Sgt. and DUI specialist Shawn Word said this is one of the peak periods for DUI violations during the year due to the influx of Mississippi State University students beginning the fall semester and the arrival of the MSU football teamâ€™s season. He said through funding from a state-issued grant, SPD will have more officers checking for people drinking under the legal age limit.
â€śWhat weâ€™re hoping is not only will they see officers out on the street but in the bars. We want to curb minorsâ€™ decisions to drink underage if they see an officer is there writing citations for minors and people contributing to the delinquency of minors,â€ť Word said. â€śWe hope people in the bars when they see the officers in the bars will think twice about driving after theyâ€™ve been drinking. We expect to be a little bit busier than normal with school and football season starting.â€ť
OSCD Chief Deputy Chadd Garnett said he wants residents to understand that extra enforcement efforts are being stepped up to make the community safer.
â€śIâ€™m a firm believer that if you educate the people youâ€™re helping them from the start. I want them to know this is a period where law enforcement feels like itâ€™s more of a danger because of more people driving under the influence,â€ť Garnett said. â€śThere will be more law enforcement out for that reason. There will be extra people out looking for driving under the influence, so call a cab. Walk, call a sober friend or designated driver, but just donâ€™t drink and drive.â€ť
The campaign extends through Labor Day, which Word said was one of the holidays each year when Starkville sees a high number of intoxicated drivers.
â€śPeople grill out and drink a couple of beers and have get togethers on Labor Day,â€ť he said. â€śAs long as you do it responsibly itâ€™s not a problem, but when you drink and drive it is.â€ť