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DWI arrests rise dramatically

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Driving while intoxicated arrests in Monett rose by 83 percent with 50 more people arrested for the offense than in 2010.

Sgt. Jerry Harrison of the Monett Police Department compiled the report on drinking and driving arrests for 2011, which broke down the arrests by offense.

First-time DWI offenders for 2011 increased by 35 over the previous year for a total of 87. Second- and third-time offenders rose by 10 for a total of 18.

The month with the highest number of first-time DWI arrests was October, with a total of 12, followed by March, with a total of 11. The remainder of the year totaled eight arrests each for January, April and May, seven arrests for February, six arrests each for July September and November, and five arrests each for June, August and December.

Arrests for second- and third-time DWI offenders peaked in November with a total of four, followed by two each for the months of February, April, May and October, and one each for the months of January, March, July, August, September and December.

Arrests for intoxication by drugs totaled two for the month of April and one each for the months of September, November and December.

During 2011, the Monett Police Department, in conjunction with the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department and the Jasper/Newton County Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), conducted a sobriety checkpoint. The Missouri Department of Transportation's Division of Highway Safety funded the campaign.

Volunteers with MADD assisted in setting up and breaking down equipment, providing food and drinks to checkpoint personnel, counting contacts and driving suspect violators' vehicles to a safe location.

The breath alcohol testing van was provided for the checkpoint courtesy of the Carthage Police Department.

There were no DWI arrests at that location.

"The checkpoint helped provide awareness of our enforcement efforts and provided a visible deterrent to drinking and driving," Harrison said.

The department also participated in five other awareness campaigns during the year that resulted in six DWI arrests for the year. Those campaigns were funded by the Missouri Safety Center through the Division of Highway Safety as mini-grants or through annual grants from the Division of Highway Safety.

The department also conducted a hazardous moving violation enforcement, focused on speed, stop sign, and other violations that are hazardous to motoring traffic.

The officer making the most DWI arrests for the year was Ryan Hutton.

The number of collisions in 2011 that involved intoxication as a probable circumstance totalled 14, with nine people injured.

"Combining all of the grant hours, officers were able to provide an additional 225 extra hours of service to the community that was specifically directed at improving traffic safety in Monett," Harrison said.

"These hours did not come from the city's budget," Harrison added.

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