Officers to step up patrols

Holidays to bring increase in DUI enforcement

Law enforcement statewide is gearing up for 15 days of increased patrols, while local agencies say the bulk of their anti-drunk-driving efforts will focus on New Year's Eve.

About 1,200 Colorado officers will be hitting roads starting this weekend, as the increased presence will run through Jan. 4., according to the Colorado State Patrol.

"This is the largest mobilization we've had in a long time for holiday enforcement," said Ron Watkins, master trooper with the state patrol in Denver.

Some 48 troopers across the state will work today, Watkins said. He said the increased patrols would climb to 76 troopers New Year's Eve.

The new efforts statewide are funded by a $1.8 million federal grant available to police agencies across the nation to step up holiday enforcement, he said.

Watkins said sobriety checkpoints aren't the focus of the program.

"We're concerned with patrol saturation on roads, which have been problem areas in the past," Watkins said.

But locally, past holiday enforcement periods have been relatively uneventful, according to Brad Keadle, trooper with the Craig-based state patrol troop.

"It (DUI and accidents handled) doesn't really seem to increase that much," Keadle said.

Craig police, meanwhile, will have an additional officer supplementing normal patrols 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. New Year's Eve, said Bill Leonard, administrative Craig police sergeant.

"The last couple of years have been pretty quiet," Leonard said.

Rick Holford, patrol sergeant with the Moffat County Sheriff's Department, said an extra patrol deputy would also work that same night.

"As far as this week, we'll have routine patrols," Holford said.

Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at pshockley@craigdailypress.com.

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