Police crack down

Weekend effort nets 629 drunken driving arrests statewide

With high school graduations, the start of summer and Memorial Day festivities, Colorado residents had plenty to celebrate during the weekend.

But the Colorado State Patrol and 39 law enforcement agencies in the state were out in full force to crack down on celebrations that involved drunken driving.

Between 6 p.m. Friday and 3 a.m. Tuesday, Colorado law enforcement agencies arrested 629 people on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.

In 2005, 595 people were arrested on suspicion of DUI during Memorial Day weekend.

The arrests were part of the State Patrol's "Target Zero" campaign, in which the State Patrol and other law enforcement agencies teamed up to increase their visibility during the holiday weekend.

"Our goal is to reduce most traffic fatalities in Colorado by 2025," State Patrol Chief Col. Mark Trotsel said.

During the weekend, every State Trooper, from Trotsel to the newest member of the force, spent time on the road.

"By having all of our uniformed officers on the highways the past four days, our objective was to emphasize the need for motorists to drive responsibly and make smart driving choices by observing the posted speed limits, wearing their seat belts, not driving aggressively or distracted and not driving if they have been drinking," Trotsel said.

Locally, the State Patrol arrested at least one person on suspicion of DUI. Trooper Doug Kline of the State Patrol in Craig said final results from the weekend's crackdown will be ready this week.

But, Kline said the "Target Zero" campaign is about more than issuing tickets and arresting people.

The program is designed to make the roads safer by increasing officers' visibility.

"The more we're out there and the more people see us, the fewer aggressive drivers we see," Kline said.

Troopers heard from numerous drivers during the weekend who said they noticed the increased police presence on the roads, Kline said.

"For the most part, we really wanted to be seen," he said.

If drivers see a trooper, they likely will be less prone to speed or drive aggressively, he said.

"We are out there," Kline said. "And we will write tickets."

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