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Ripon snags DUI enforcement grants

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POSTED October 12, 2009 2:48 a.m.

RIPON – You’d better not have “one for the road” in Ripon.

Even in the midst of a budget crisis, the Ripon Police Department managed to snag not only a $113,000 grant on Tuesday that will allow them to step up their enforcement for those driving under influence, but the department also received more than $16,000 that will be specifically earmarked for DUI checkpoints in and around town.

While Ripon’s DUI numbers might be slightly higher than those of neighboring communities, the positioning of two full-time officers to help set examples along the busy Highway 99 corridor can actually be viewed as a positive. It is something that sends a message to those in town that there isn’t any slack that will be given to anybody.

“This zero-tolerance enforcement makes it clear that it doesn’t matter who you are or who you know or who you might be able to make a phone call for you,” Ormonde said. “If you’re under the influence or drugs or alcohol and you’re caught behind the wheel then you’re going to get arrested – it’s as simple as that.

“It’s a dangerous activity and in the 11 years that I’ve been a part of this department we’ve never had a fatality due to alcohol and that’s something directly attributed to our officers that are out there doing the job that they’re supposed to do.”

The California Office of Traffic Safety will distribute both of the grants that will be used in a variety of ways – with the $113,000 grant to train fellow officers on how to spot drivers making the standard moves that signify they’ve had too much to drink, and train them how to properly administer a field sobriety test until a Portable Alcohol Sensor can arrive on scene.

Other officers will be paid overtime to staff as many as four different sobriety checkpoints in and around the Ripon area.

“At the end of the day we just want our families and all of those families here in Ripon to be able to return home safely,” Ormonde said. “If that means taking a few people off the street because they can’t follow the law, then that’s what we’re going to have to do in order to preserve safety.”

To contact Jason Campbell, e-mail, or call (209) 249-3544.

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