Archive for Wednesday, August 7, 2002

Checkpoint catches drunk drivers

August 7, 2002

Like it or not, drunk drivers are still on the go.

Leavenworth County Sheriff's traffic patrol officer, Sgt. Andy Dedeke, said a July 20 late-night checkpoint at County Road 5 and Donahoo Road netted results.

"We had 69 cars go through in two hours and we made two arrests," Dedeke said.

The department, he said, has conducted three check- points this year, and five more are in the county's future.

"We've got a couple planned for the Tonganoxie area, so we'll be back," Dedeke said.

Since the county added six full-time patrol officers in 2001, the number of DUI arrests has climbed.

The six extra patrol officers added to the sheriff's department in 2001 have helped catch offenders, Dedeke said.

"That's making a difference. We caught quite a few in 2001 I think word's getting out that we do take drunk drivers seriously in Leavenworth County. We're not getting nearly as many repeat offenders as we have in the past."

Although a majority of the offenders live in Leavenworth County, Dedeke estimated that about 25 percent live in Johnson, Wyandotte, Douglas and Shawnee counties.

In contrast to the county's increasing number of DUI arrests, Tonganoxie's DUIs have dropped.

So far this year there have been seven DUI arrests in Tonganoxie, compared to 27 in 2001 and 41 in 2000.

Tonganoxie Police Chief Ken Carpenter attributed the decline to the temporary absence of two police officers. One is Brian Daily, who was called in 2001 to serve with the Kansas Air National Guard. He's expected to remain in military service until May 2003.

"He was just more aggressive on DUIs than anybody else," Carpenter said about Daily.

Another Tonganoxie police officer, Billy Adcox, is completing studies at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center.

"Once he graduates, I'll look for ticket productivity to pick up again a little bit," Carpenter said.

Carpenter said it helps that sheriff's deputies and Kansas Highway Patrol officers travel through the county and stop drivers who appear to be impaired.

The county now has two Kansas Highway Patrol officers in Leavenworth County, and two more in training who also will be patrolling the county, said Lt. John Eichkorn, Kansas Highway Patrol spokesman.

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