>The Madras Police department recieves $53,000 for holiday saturation patrols
State and local law enforcement agencies are stepping up their holiday patrols to be on the lookout for drunk drivers and travelers not wearing seatbelts.
The Madras Police Department has received grants totaling $53,000 from the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police and the Oregon Department of Transportation to pay their officers for overtime work.
"This is a really dangerous time with all the parties," said Madras police Capt. Tom Adams. "So we're going to be doing a lot of extra saturation patrols. There's going to be many more officers on the street this holiday."
That includes county sheriff's office deputies and state troopers, too.
Oregon State Police have received $80,000 from ODOT's Safety Division for beefed up patrols statewide, said Sally Gilpin, OSP's Public Information Officer.
"What we do is get grant funds from mostly the federal government to help pay for overtime for our troopers so we can have more of them out looking for people driving impaired and are a hazard to other folks," Gilpin said.
Locally, that means state troopers will conduct saturation patrols on intrastate highways 97 and 26.
Law enforcement officials encourage the use of designated drivers and other modes of transportation this holiday, including the relatively new local taxi service.
Rebecca Roth, who owns and operates High Desert Taxi, knows that the utilization of her service can keep the streets safer as well as make her a buck or two.
Roth, who works out of her home, drives a six-passenger van. She charges a $5 minimum and $2 per mile. The taxi service operates from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., but Roth said she is more than willing to make arrangements for riders after-hours as long as appointments are made in advance. Transportation fees are fixed regardless of whether she is carrying a single passenger or six.
"It's a lot better to pay for a taxi than one of those expensive DUI tickets," Roth said. "At least that's what my customers have told me."
She can be reached at 475-5892 or on her cellular phone at 815-0134.
Adams said increased patrols should serve as a deterrent to would-be intoxicated drivers.
"It's the season of a lot of parties and festivities. Madras Police Department would like the community to know about the extra enforcement and drink responsibly and use designated drivers," he said.