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DUI patrols get boost this week

With less than a week until the Labor Day holiday, local law enforcement officials will be hitting the roadways as part of the statewide “Over the Limit, Under Arrest” campaign.

Sheriff Dennis Meeks said the idea behind the initiative is a simple one.

“If you are caught drinking and driving, you’re going to jail,” Meeks said. “Through the Labor Day holiday, we will have several deputies working overtime throughout the county, strictly looking for people operating motor vehicles while under the influence.

“We have a zero tolerance for those who drink and drive,” he said. “Not only for the safety of those drivers but also for the others and their passengers who are on the roadways. We want to make sure everyone has a safe end of the summer holiday and everyone gets where they’re going and back again safely.”

Funding for this initiative is provided by a grant from Enterprise-Ozark Community College to support the Southeast Alabama Traffic Safety Office, which works with law enforcement agencies in 10 counties, including Covington.

Monday, Gov. Bob Riley announced an additional $158,234 to continue traffic safety efforts in southeast Alabama throughout the next 12 months.

The funds are part of $1.4 million in traffic safety grants announced by Riley this week to support the operation of nine highway safety offices throughout the state.

The grants help cover overtime pay for police officers and sheriff’s deputies during special enforcement campaigns conducted over holiday weekends and other busy travel periods. Enforcement efforts include sobriety checkpoints and focus on areas where a high number of crashes have occurred.

The grants also will help the safety office to coordinate traffic safety awareness and child passenger safety education campaigns throughout the region.

“And as always, we will be on the look out for any other traffic violations,” Meeks said. “And even after the overtime grant is completed, we’re going to continue to seek impaired drivers and get them off the roadway.”