By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Deputies have made four DUI arrests this month, and the county is on track to break a dubious record, Garfield County Sheriff Jerry Niles said.
Last year, there were seven DUI arrests for the month of February, but changes in patrols and reports from residents have led to four arrests already this month.
“We’re on track to beat that record the first full week of the month,” Niles said. “We’re just concerned with the number of DUI arrests. In February, we’ve had a marked increase.”
He said the increase is a concern for the sheriff’s department.
“In January, we saw significant decrease in DUI arrests from the year before, but February stated off with a bang,” Niles said. “We had nine DUI arrests in all of January, down from 18 the previous year.”
The sheriff said multiple factors have contributed to the number of arrests.
“We’ve changed up our patrol patterns and patrol schedules. We’ve also been having citizens calling us more about driving that is reckless or the possibility of having alcohol involved,” Niles said. “Some of it is being there at the right place at the right time and seeing the infraction.”
Niles said education efforts about drinking and driving, and efforts by law enforcement agencies has resulted in less tolerance for drunken driving.
“People need to just understand it’s a risky business and communities just do not tolerate it anymore,” he said. “We in law enforcement are concerned about the loss of life, first and foremost, and then the property damage and the impact it has upon society.”
Niles said those who decide to drink need to do so responsibly.
“Use a designated driver,” he said, “or don’t drink when you are driving or don’t drive if you’ve been drinking.”
Those who see anyone who they believe is driving under the influence should contact law enforcement immediately, he said.