HERKIMER – Local police are reminding residents to take care and be responsible this holiday weekend – particularly when it comes to consuming alcohol and driving.
Police periodically announce that they will be beefing up patrols and setting up sobriety check points, throughout the year, and Memorial Day weekend is one of those occasions, said Herkimer Police Sergeant Jody Wheet.
“The purpose is not so much to catch people drinking and driving as to deter them from doing so,” Wheet said. “We want to get the word out and try to publicize heavily beforehand so people will get a ride, walk, or do whatever it takes to not drink and drive.”
Wheet said there are usually eight state-wide DWI Crackdown periods at Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Superbowl weekend, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, July Fourth and Labor Day. In addition, local law enforcement sporadically schedule other patrol increases at various times, he said.
This weekend’s crackdown will last from tonight, May 22, through Wednesday, Wheet said, and will include increased police patrols as well as sobriety check points. Those check points will continually move about, Wheet added.
“We have to keep moving them thanks to social networking,” he commented. “People post the location of the check points and we can always tell when word has gotten out because traffic will decrease.”
Funding for the beefed-up police presence comes from the New York State Stop DWI program, which gives money to each county, who then disperses the funds among local law enforcement.
In addition to providing funding, NYS Stop DWI has introduced a relatively new mobile phone app called Have A Plan Mobile App. The app is free and available for Android, Windows and Apple products. It enables users to locate and call a taxi service, program a designated-driver list, educate themselves on blood-alcohol content levels, read up on DWI laws and penalties and even report a suspected impaired driver.
“People should remember the New York State Stop DWI slogan,” Wheet said. “Have a Plan. Get a ride. Don’t drive.”