Police look for drunk drivers

More officers patrolling for holiday weekend

Expect to see extra officers patrolling the roads in the days leading up to the Fourth of July.

Anywhere from two to four additional officers and deputies will be on patrol in Johnson County looking for drunk drivers at key times from Friday evening to Wednesday morning, said Franklin Police Department Sgt. Scott Carter, who is the coordinator of the Johnson County law Enforcement Coalition.

The Greenwood, Franklin, New Whiteland and Trafalgar police departments, along with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, participate in a state-funded program that pays for extra officers to be out on the roads, Carter said. Franklin, for example, will typically have one extra officer above the normal shift who will be out searching for drunk drivers, a step local departments often take around holidays, he said.

Two out of every five fatal crashes during the holidays are a result of someone driving impaired, a Johnson County Law Enforcement Coalition news release said. During the Fourth of July and other holiday celebrations, Indiana has a large number of alcohol-related crashes. The 2016 Fourth of July weekend had 146 of those crashes, the release said.

Having extra officers out patrolling helps prevent accidents, but also serves as a reminder to other drivers that they need to be careful, Carter said.

Extra officers are on the road from the early evening to early morning hours, when drivers are more likely to have been drinking, Carter said.

Carter declined to say if any specific locations are being targeted, but said that they usually include high traffic areas with the goal of having other drivers see the traffic stops as well. The stops serve as a warning to other drivers, reminding them of what could happen if they break the law and drive while intoxicated, Carter said.

“If someone sees us out working, they are less likely to take the risk of driving impaired,” he said.

Officers will be looking for the typical signs that someone is not behaving normally, such as crossing over the center line or not accelerating immediately after the light changes to green at an intersection, Greenwood Police Department spokesperson Kortney Burrello said.

Greenwood will have a couple officers taking part in the extra patrols, she said. Officers will be patrolling across the city, rather than targeting any specific locations, she said.

Drivers who suspect that another driver is impaired should get away from the other vehicle and call 911, the release said.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.