December 22, 2003

SIUC police step up enforcement activities

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Department of Public Safety is once again reminding motorists to drive safely this holiday season.

The department is using a federal safety grant through the Illinois Department of Transportation for a third round of traffic law enforcement.

The enforcement period, which began Sunday, Dec. 21, runs through Saturday, Jan. 3. The first two rounds were in October and November.

Earlier this fall, the University received a $16,482 grant through the transportation department's Mini-Grant Alcohol Enforcement Program, or MAP grant. This is the second year the University has received grant funds.

The grant allows SIUC police to hire back officers to conduct traffic activities for a specific number of hours during a two-week period. This award allows the department to conduct approximately 336 hours of enforcement during eight periods between Oct. 1 and Sept. 30, 2004.

Capt. Todd D. Sigler of the SIUC police department believes enforcement efforts this fall have been effective. There were seven arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol in the last enforcement period, Nov. 24-Dec. 7. There also were four drug-related arrests and 11 citations for safety belt violations.

"We feel that this was an effective enforcement period," said Sigler.

Promoting campus safety is among the goals of "Southern at 150," the long-range blueprint for the University's growth by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

SIUC is one of 22 police agencies -- and only two universities -- in the state to receive the federal safety funds this year.

The grant focuses on impaired drivers, but officers address seat belt use and other traffic safety issues. Among 18- to 34-year-old motorists killed in car crashes last year in Illinois, nearly eight out of 10 were not wearing seat belts, according to IDOT statistics.

For more information, contact Sigler at the SIUC Department of Public Safety at 618/453-2381.