Enforcement patrols net 16 DUII arrests over holidays
Law enforcement in Columbia County arrested a handful of people for driving under the influence over the holidays, but some say the numbers are fairly indicative of driving behavior year-round.
While some agencies conducted high visibility campaigns to crack down on drunk driving, others relied on normal patrols to monitor roads during the holidays when people are likely to drink and then get behind the wheel.
The St. Helens Police Department conducted a high visibility enforcement campaign from Dec. 15 to Jan. 1, a time when more officers were on the streets conducting patrols.
Police Chief Terry Moss said six DUII arrests were made during the campaign.
Oregon State Police troopers in Columbia County reported eight arrests between Dec. 18 and Jan. 1, while the Scappoose Police Department made 120 traffic stops over the holiday season and made two DUII arrests.
The Columbia County Sheriff's Office reported no DUII arrests.
Moss said public messaging by law enforcement agencies like OSP urging people not to drink and drive and to use public transportation or designated drivers was heavy this year, but it's hard to determine what influences drivers' choices.
The fact that any DUII arrests were made suggests people are still making the choice to get behind the wheel anyway, Moss said.
"We found six. That suggests that people are still drinking and driving," Moss said. "For every one that we do catch, there are so many more that don't get caught."
Moss said the numbers reported from his agency are fairly typical and don't really represent a spike in DUII arrests during the holidays.
Throughout the year, SHPD made 122 DUII arrests, averaging 10 per month. SPD made 26 DUII arrests thoughout the year.
"Unfortunately, that number is something that we realize all the time," Moss said, referring to the six arrests made in a two-week period. "I don't think that's a Christmas number."
Last year, SHPD conducted a similar enforcement campaign and issued two DUII arrests around the same time period.