Extra Police On Patrol For New Year's Eve

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Local law enforcement agencies will have extra officers on duty Friday night to get drunken drivers off the road.

DUI Saturation Patrols or "Wolf Packs" specifically target impaired drivers.

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Officer Chad DeSchaff demonstrates the breathalyzer used for alcohol detection on Roundup intern Ryan Kost. Local law enforcement agencies will have additional officers on duty Friday night to help nab drunken drivers.

Payson Police Lt. Don Engler said he expects four extra officers will be scouting DUI drivers in town limits.

"We have some money from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety to fund a DUI Saturation Patrol," Engler said. "Our extra officers will work that detail from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m."

Four extra Department of Public Safety Officers also will be on the highways looking for drunken drivers. DPS, along with Gila County Sheriff's deputies, will be working areas outside of the city limits.

"We will be doing a Wolf Pack Patrol on New Year's Eve," DPS Sgt. John Whetten said. "We offered the officers some federally funded overtime to work that night."

A person is considered legally drunk when their blood-alcohol level is .08 percent, but Engler said it is still possible to be charged with a DUI even if you are under the legal limit.

"If you are impaired to the slightest degree, you are in violation of the statute," Engler said

"You don't have to be in excess of the allowable blood-alcohol limit if your ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired to the slightest degree. People need to remember that."

The Payson Police Department also is providing transportation for people who are too impaired to drive home, Engler said.

"We are offering free rides home for people who need them," Engler said. "We will take them home from a private party or one of the drinking establishments."

The free rides are available in Payson and nearby communities such as Mesa del Caballo and Round Valley. Engler said rides will be available from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. and possibly later if needed.

"We would rather they contact us and ask for a free ride then get out on the road," Engler said. "We are doing our part to make it a safe holiday."

To request a free ride home, call the Payson Police Department's non-emergency number (928) 474-5177.

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