Extra Enforcement Around The Holidays - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Extra Enforcement Around The Holidays

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     The scariest part of Halloween may not be the costumes or pranks, but drunk drivers. That's why area law enforcement are cracking down. And the statistics they're trying to combat are sobering.
     Between 2007 and 2011, 52 percent of fatalities on Halloween night involved a drunk driver according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2011, the driver in 38 percent of those deaths had a BAC of .08 or higher and 11 percent involved a pedestrian. One local agency watching closely is Galesburg police and officials are already thinking about upcoming holidays too.
     The big bash at Cherry Street Restaurant and Bar was last Saturday but owners still expect some costume-clad bar-goers to continue the celebrations.
     "We may get some people through in costumes, but last weekend and there may be some this weekend," said Stan Devlin.
     Halloween is a busy time for downtown businesses and can be for the police too. "There's more people out and about, probably more traffic, more people in the bars, more home parties," said Captain Chris Howard, Galesburg Police Department.
     Galesburg joins other departments with an aggressive Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement. The agency was recently awarded a nearly $7,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation. It will fund overtime costs for officers conducting safety check points and seat belt enforcement zones on several holidays that have high potential for problems.
     "Thanksgiving, Christmas, doing it around holidays, the days leading up to the holiday," added Captain Howard.
      Officers say Thanksgiving is closing in on Saint Patrick's Day as one of the biggest bar nights of the year. "I always falls on a Thursday so the kids from college are back home and they're all meeting with their friends," he said.
     The worst thing to have happen would be a deadly accident so extra officers will be on duty and on the look out. Bar owners say they're vigilant about it too but are glad for the added enforcement. 
     "It's nice to have them come through and show their presence," said Devlin.
     The grant Galesburg Police received from IDOT runs through next October so it will help with enforcement around other holidays throughout the year too.