Drunken-driving patrols target Valentine's Day revelers

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Frank Schultz
Thursday, February 13, 2014

JANESVILLE­—Love is intoxicating, but if you mix your Valentine's Day outing with other intoxicants, you could be spending non-romantic time with a guy who has flashing lights on top of his car.

Police, sheriff's deputies and the Wisconsin State Patrol plan to target drunken drivers in Rock County on Friday.

Capt. Jude Maurer of the Rock County Sheriff's Office said this is the first time that his agency has targeted drunken drivers on Valentine's Day.

Maurer doesn't have data to show that Valentine's Day is a big one for drunken driving, but he does know that a holiday combined with a weekend can bring out drunk drivers.

“So we thought this would be a good opportunity to get out there and do this high-visibility enforcement,” Maurer said.

The money for the extra officers—three or four more than usual on second and third shifts Friday night—comes from an annual state grant of about $90,000, Maurer said.

Deputies normally would be paid overtime for the patrols because they probably will have used up their 40 hours by Friday, Maurer said.

The added officers will only target impaired drivers, Maurer said. The officers normally assigned to those shifts will cover the other calls for service.

Also participating in the crackdown will be police from the towns of Beloit and Turtle, Edgerton and Janesville.

The grant money will cover additional days of increased patrols this year.

Last year, the sheriff's office targeted St. Patrick's Day, which was on a weekend. This year, St. Pat's Day is on a Monday, but Maurer said the day still will warrant more intense enforcement “because of historical trends.”

Last updated: 6:11 am Friday, February 14, 2014

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