December 01, 2004

Police expand enforcement efforts

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois University Carbondale Department of Public Safety is conducting expanded traffic enforcement to crack down on drunken driving during the holiday season.

SIUC police are conducting the second round of concentrated enforcement for two periods that began Nov. 22 and conclude Dec. 4.

The increased enforcement is the result of a $15,892 grant the University received for a third consecutive year from the Illinois Department of Transportation's Mini-Alcohol Enforcement Program. The grant allows SIUC to hire off-duty officers for traffic enforcement activity for a specific number of hours over a two-week period. The award pays for 336 hours of additional patrol time during eight enforcement periods through Sept. 30, 2005.

Seven motorists received citations for driving under the influence of alcohol during the last enforcement period between Oct. 18 and Oct. 31, SIUC Public Safety Director Todd D. Sigler said. There were also three tickets and seven warnings issued for safety belt violations; three motorists received citations for driving while license suspended; three received speeding tickets; and police arrested one individual on an outstanding warrant.

"It is important to remind motorists that holiday periods are high-traffic volumes and that patrols are generally stepped up during these high-volume traffic periods," Sigler said.

Promoting campus safety is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019. Also consistent with Southern@150, DPS pursues new sources of external grant funding as well as educating students about high-risk behaviors that would compromise their safety.

SIUC is one of 29 police agencies -- and only two universities -- in the state to receive the federal safety funds this year. Western Illinois University in Macomb also received funding, according to IDOT's Division of Traffic Safety.

The grant focuses on impaired drivers, but officers address seat belt use and other traffic safety issues.