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Hays PD to boost DUI patrols tonight

9/13/2013

By MIKE CORN

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

The Hays Police Department already is on track to make as many as 450 driving under the influence arrests this year, and they're now going to put twice as many patrolmen on the streets tonight.

They will be looking for impaired drivers, said Hays Police Chief Don Scheibler.

It's all part of a Kansas Department of Transportation grant that lets area law enforcement departments put extra patrolmen on the streets in an effort to crack down on drunk driving.

While this isn't a record year, Hays has been racking up the DUI arrests at a rate of nearly one each day.

As of Thursday, there had been 263 arrests in Hays so far this year, Scheibler said. This time last year, there were 304.

The Ellis County Sheriff's office added 44 DUI arrests to the mix last year.

The sheriff's office just completed its saturation program, making two DUI arrests.

But, according to Deputy Thomas Garner, there also was one minor in consumption arrest, one driving while suspended arrest and one transporting an open container arrest. Five speeding citations, 17 seat belt citations and 12 other citations were issued. Garner said they also made one felony warrant arrest.

Scheibler said the extra patrolmen from his department will be on the streets from 11 p.m. tonight to 3 a.m. Saturday.

The five extra officers will nearly double the number on the streets.

Scheibler, however, suggested people call the Safe Ride program rather than risk being arrested if they drink then drive.

Safe Ride provides a free, no-questions-asked alternative to someone who's been drinking.

Two buses will be running tonight, he said, and rides can be arranged by calling (785) 621-2580.

People who drink and don't call, driving instead, will be stopped.

"The officers are out there enforcing DUI laws that will make the roads safer," he said of the saturation patrol.