March 21, 2005

Police department steps up traffic enforcement

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 next month.

SIUC police are conducting the concentrated enforcement for two periods – today (March 21) through Saturday, April 2, and Tuesday, April 4, through Monday, April 17.

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.

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

SIUC Public Safety Director Todd D. Sigler noted that warmer weather will bring more vehicle traffic, along with high school proms and other events to campus. The four weekends of enforcement will result in a substantial number of patrols at a time when the campus will be very active.

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.