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OWI patrols being reduced in Fox Valley area

  • Associated Press
  • December 23, 2013 - 11:25 AM

APPLETON, Wis. — Fox Valley authorities will cut back on patrol shifts designed to nab drunken drivers because it's getting harder to find officers to fill the late-night shifts.

Appleton police conducted about 40 "saturation patrols" in the 15 months ending in October. In the year ending next September, police expect to conduct fewer than 10, Post-Crescent Media reported (http://post.cr/1c2IyNt ).

Shifts for that patrol generally run from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. Police Capt. Todd Freeman said it's harder to find officers willing to sign up for the voluntary patrols, which are in addition to their regular shifts.

Despite the cutback, Freeman said officers were still making arrests and the task force was still making its presence felt. He said drivers had become aware of the OWI task force, and just maintaining high police visibility in problem areas has helped change driver behavior.

"It sends a message that this is a community problem," he said. "The goal of the program is to reduce impaired driving. If the saturation patrols and visibility of officers are selling points (for the public), that's fantastic."

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