Increased DWI enforcement kicks off statewide Friday

More police officers will be on patrol starting Friday as a statewide DWI enforcement campaign kicks off in an effort to keep impaired drivers of the road.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, statistics from 2012 to 2016 showed in Minnesota the highest number of drunk driving-related deaths occurred over the summer months.

During a ridealong Thursday night, St. Paul police officers gave Fox 9 a look into type of patrols and enforcement the public can expect during the period, which lasts from Aug. 17 to Sept. 2.

“We have about ten officers right now that are being funded by the state’s Towards Zero Deaths grant,” said St. Paul Police Officer Alex Graham. “The goal is to find impaired drivers whether they’re impaired on alcohol or on drugs and take them off the streets tonight and make the City of St. Paul and Ramsey County as safe as we can possibly make them.”

About ten minutes into the ridealong, St. Paul police officers stopped one man and arrested him on suspicion of impaired driving. Graham says squads were called to a disturbance, where the person was inside his vehicle playing loud music.

“He admitted to consuming marijuana in his vehicle and we went through some standardized field sobriety tests and those tests showed impairment and subsequently to those tests, we placed him under arrest for DWI,” Graham said.

Graham said the man refused chemical testing at the jail, where he was later booked.

About $857,000 was allocated to more than 300 Minnesota law enforcement agencies for the entire overtime enforcement period.