Kathy Cooper, Rice County Safe Communities, alerted me to the new DWI task force, called the MOD-Squad (“Modifying Driving Behavior”).
Griff, as you probably remember from last year, Rice County was number 11 of the top 15 deadliest counties for alcohol-related deaths and injuries. Unfortunately, we are on the list again… There will be a briefing in Northfield on Friday, December 5 at 2030 hrs.
I blogged last year at this time about Rice County’s dubious distinction of being among the deadliest counties in the state for DWI-related deaths and serious injuries. I guess it didn’t do any good because…
We’re now 8th deadliest. See the poster (PDF).
Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Nancy Silkey and Rice County Deputy Blaine Smith did the presentation. Sgt. Mark Murphy is the coordinator for the Northfield Police Department. I captured the audio:
Click play to listen. 20 minutes.
We’re planning to have Silkey and Smith on next week’s Locally Grown radio show/podcast.
See the Rice County 11/22 press release High Visibility Enforcement Scheduled and the press release of arrests made on Thanksgiving eve titled Coming Soon . . . To A City Near You: Rice County MOD Squad Initial DWI Enforcement Effort Successful in Making the Rice County Roads Safer by Arresting 8 Impaired Drivers.
11:30am update: I’ve added the poster above, as the announcement was just made that Rice County went from 11th to 8th deadliest county in the state.
Here’s the email from Deputy Smith explaining the program:
Rice County is number 11 of the top 15 deadliest counties for alcohol-related deaths and injuries. Obviously not an acceptable list to be on. Due to this, we have received a rather large grant “NightCap” to fund overtime to conduct highly visible, aggressive saturation patrols throughout the county for impaired drivers. This is in addition to the Safe and Sober grant Rice County has rec’d for 2009. This is a collaborative effort between State Patrol District 2100 and all local agencies within the county. Saturations will target events and roadways where there is a greater likelihood of impaired driving.
The ultimate goal is to coordinate and plan use of traffic safety funds to maximize the results of our projects and reduce the number of traffic fatalities and injuries in Rice County. To accomplish this, we have created a task force, or MOD-Squad if you will. MOD-ifying unsafe driving and saving lives, one stop at a time. This will be the unveiling of our task force. There will be a short presentation and roll call prior to hitting the streets which you’re welcome to attend. I also invite one, or both of you to ride along for as long as you like with our two Deputies assigned. We will be targeting the Faribault area on this first saturation and there will be an additional 6 law enforcement officers from various Rice County/State Patrol agencies involved.
Signs will be placed in multiple locations stating “DWI arrest zone” and all officers working will be required to wear high visibility safety vests identifying them as “DWI Task Force”. Will we be doing 16 of these event between the 26th and Aug. of ’09. I encourage you to take part and if you’re interested in receiving stats after each event I can provide them to you. As I said before, this is a highly visible program and will effect the entire county and I’m sure bordering cities like New Prague and Montgomery. We, coordinators, want the media to be as involved as possible and assist us in educating the public.