DUI Task Force Plan approved by commissioners

The number of people driving under the influence on Madison County roads has decreased, but that is not stopping Lynn Lowder and the DUI Task Force from continuing their work.

Lowder, the task force coordinator, said the 2013 plan did not change much from last year’s plan. The data added to the plan from the past year does show some difference for the positive, at least in Madison County. Driving under the influence continues to be a problem across the state.

“It looks like your efforts are paying off,” commissioner Dave Schulz told Lowder.

The task force works with the sheriff’s office quite a bit, Lowder said. They perform compliance checks and work together on the state’s telephonic SCRAM bracelet system. Responsible alcohol sales and service trainings are also available through the task force.

“We need the compliance checks and server trainings together, or they do not work,” Lowder said.

Large decreases of DUIs in the Bear Trap area are a great success to Lowder and Sheriff Dave Schenk. Law enforcement conducts high visibility enforcement in the area and tries to make sure the public knows they will be there.

Enforcement of the law is not the only duty of the task force. It also works on educating the public about the dangers and costs of being under the influence behind the wheel. Commissioner Jim Hart said he believes this part of the task force’s work is the most beneficial.

“This program is a great one,” Schenk said. “I think we have to be proactive on getting the word out that lives are important.”

The task force works with a small budget that comes mainly from driver’s license reinstatement fees, which DUI offenders pay. The task force’s total operating budget is about $2,500.

Abuse of prescription drugs is a becoming a problem in the state and it is not always easy to detect when a person is driving under the drugs’ influence. Lowder said at least one police officer in Madison County is specifically trained in this area.

“Considering the budget we have, we are surpassing what could be done,” Lowder said. “We are excited about the results.”

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