Friday, August 12, 2011
The Kansas Department of Transportation awarded a grant of nearly $30,000 that paid for a new DUI trailer, a couple of generators, and safety equipment, such as traffic cones and safety lights.
The new tool will be used to assist law enforcement when they conduct DUI check lanes.
"We've all seen reports of drunk drivers running into vehicles that are parked," said Sheriff Bob Hinshaw, Sedgwick County. "We've had several run into law enforcement vehicles. This will make it safer for the people that are operating the checkpoint."
Hinshaw unveiled the new trailer on Friday, during the kick-off event for the annual "Drunk driving. Over the limit. Under arrest" campaign. The crackdown on alcohol-impaired drivers will last through Labor Day weekend.
"Unfortunately, that's a problem that hasn't gone away yet. Everybody is working hard on it. In Kansas, we're one of the few states that our alcohol numbers aren't dropping as much as other states and we'd like to get a handle on that," said Pete Bodyk, traffic safety manager for KDOT.
The DUI trailer will accompany officers and deputies during DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols in the region. Officials said the trailer is only the second of its kind in the state, with Kansas City having one already in operation.
"I'm very happy to see this trailer because it really will help with check lanes. They've always kind of been dangerous for the officers. I think this will help significantly," said Tom Weilert, Sedgwick County assistant district attorney.
Hinshaw said this regional tool functions much like a command center to carry equipment and can be used in the event of a natural disaster. They already have plans to upgrade and include sobriety tests inside the trailer.
The trailer will make its debut this weekend when the Sheriff's office will use it during a DUI check lane in northwest Sedgwick county.
Last year, there were 904 total drunk driving arrests. Since July 31, there have been 505 arrests.