Missoula Police Increasing Patrols for Cinco de Mayo
On Tuesday next week, millions around the world will celebrate the Battle of Puebla in which the Mexican army won an unlikely victory against the French back in 1862, but these days, the holiday of Cinco de Mayo is often an excuse to have an extra margarita or another shot of tequila.
Sargent Greg Amundsen from the Missoula Police Department says more police than usual will be watching the streets.
"For Cinco de Mayo, the police department is going to be putting out a couple of extra patrols, which is extra officers that are going to be hired to come in and work just DUI enforcement that evening. If you think about it, compared to our overall manpower, [two more officers] is pretty significant, especially since they aren't going to be responding to calls for service, they're going to just be focusing on locating and arresting impaired drivers."
The extra police are funded by a Department of Transportation grant through the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program. While extra eyes on the road are helpful, Amundsen says the big benefit of the grant is from the press.
"Probably the thing that is most helpful is when the media helps us get the word out that there are going to be extra officers out there looking for impaired drivers, and maybe just make people think about planning ahead. "What I always like to say is don't even take your car downtown, take the bus or get dropped off, that way it completely eliminates the possibility of you driving your own car home when you've had too much to drink."
National statistics show a spike in drunk driving related crashes over the weekend of Cinco de Mayo, when nearly a third of all vehicle crashes result in a DUI.