Texoma Agency Receives Grant; Plans to Step Up DWI Enforcement

Planning on traveling this Christmas?  Be sure not to drink and drive.  That's the message area law enforcement want you to know.

To step up agency efforts, the Wichita County Sheriff's Office received a grant from the Texas Traffic Safety Program to help pay for more deputies to patrol our streets and put an end to DWI's this holiday season.

It's a grant worth $25,000.

"A county our size has had as many DWI arrests as we've had so that probably facilitated us
 in getting the grant," said Wichita County Deputy, Melvin Joyner.

It means more deputies patrolling our streets.

"Off duty deputies will work additional patrols to enforce the DWI law," said Joyner.

For the past several years the department has applied for the funding, but never had the chance of receiving the grant, due to larger agencies getting the money, but this year was different, bigger efforts were made in looking for drunk drivers.

"This past year there has been a significant increase in the amount of DWI arrests made by
Wichita County Deputies," he said.

Deputy Joyner did not have exact numbers, but according to nationwide statistics last year more than 10,000 lives were lost in drunk driving accidents, a large sum in Texas alone and Wichita County Deputies don't want this holiday season to be a deadly one.

"The thing that I would encourage citizens to do is don't drink and drive, get a designated driver or a taxi," he said.

Their DWI crackdown efforts throughout the year have paid off, more arrests means a better and safe Wichita County.

The grant is in large part due to the STEP - Impaired Driving Mobilization Program.  It is a campaign aimed at getting local law enforcement agencies to conduct DWI enforcement waves and increase DWI arrests.

Wichita County Deputies are just one of many agencies that will step up patrols during the holidays.

The grant will cover the pay expenses of deputies enforcing driving while intoxicated arrests this holiday season as well as major 2011 holidays.

Crystal Hall