EASLEY, SC (WSPA)–The Easley Police Division will use greater than $230,000 in grant funding to aggressively implement and prosecute circumstances of driving beneath the affect (DUI).
Officers mentioned DUI circumstances have been on the rise within the metropolis.
“DUI’s within the metropolis have been rising annually. In addition to fatalities rising. For this final 12 months, we had been at six fatalities within the metropolis limits of Easley, which some are DUI associated. Our DUI numbers continue to grow, which is telling us that our roadways are unsafe from DUI or from impaired drivers,” mentioned Michael Ambrose, Uniform Patrol Sgt. on the Easley Police Division.
In 2020, the division noticed 110 DUI circumstances. Since January 1, 2021, the power has seen 143 DUI circumstances.
“So the primary grant that we acquired is the Impaired Driving Grant. Impaired Driving Countermeasures is what it’s referred to as by the South Carolina Division of Public Security. That grant offers us a automobile for an officer to drive. It’s offers us the officer’s wage. It additionally offers us some other gear wanted for that officer to exit right here and discover the impaired drivers throughout the metropolis limits of Easley and scale back fatalities,” Ambrose mentioned.
The Easley Police Division mentioned in a launch that the $134,577 grant will “permit the division to pay $71,000 in wage and advantages for a visitors officer” with the remaining funding going in the direction of the acquisition of the officer’s automobile and different needed gear.
Ambrose mentioned the officer will go after aggressive drivers.
“That individual can be going after any sort of aggressive driver and issues of that nature to assist with any of our fatalities. Hopefully our fatality numbers will go down with this aggressive enforcement,” Ambrose mentioned. “Clearly he’ll do elevated visitors stops for failure to keep up lane. Folks driving left to middle. Folks at a excessive charges of pace, reckless driving,” he mentioned.
One Upstate mother mentioned she’s joyful that is taking place, after her son was killed within the Spartanburg space.
“I really feel like that’s great point. That’s superior to listen to. I really feel like it can assist out rather a lot with catching the underage drunk drivers,” mentioned Mary Parks, mom of Brandon Stites.
“That is really the sixth 12 months, my son Brandon was a senior at Woodruff Excessive College, and he was killed in an underage drunk driving accident,” Parks mentioned.
Her son was a passenger in a automobile with an underage drunk driver when he was killed.
“Nobody ever expects to lose a toddler. Shedding my son has actually devastated myself and my different kids. I do have three boys, so it’s been very very onerous to simply accept that he’s not with us and it took a toll on my life and my complete household’s life,” Parks mentioned. “Consuming and driving isn’t good. It does trigger deaths. It does trigger heartbreaks and I’d not need anybody to ever ever undergo what my household has gone by,” she mentioned.
“Chief Whitten got here in and allowed me to go after this grant to safe an officer that’s devoted simply to DUI enforcement. That’s all this officer is devoted to and can be sure that our DUI numbers, hopefully the DUI arrest will come up somewhat bit, however the fatalities will go down,” Ambrose mentioned. “So, it can assist us get the impaired drivers off the roadway, earlier than they’ve a collision or earlier than there’s a fatality. So, it’ll make our roadways safer for pedestrian visitors to stroll up and down the roadway with out having to fret about getting struck by a automobile and issues of that nature,” he mentioned.
As well as, the Easley Police Division has acquired $97,000 for a prosecutor’s grant. The grant will allow the division to hunt and rent an legal professional whose main focus will probably be prosecuting DUI circumstances.
“So when we have now impaired drivers on the roadway, we get them off the roadway, arrest them, take them to jail after which the court docket course of begins. In order that creates a backlog. So we have now prosecutors there. Now we have now a prosecutor with this grant to prosecute these circumstances and get these circumstances on the forefront, so that they don’t backlog our system any longer, and people drivers are literally prosecuted as a substitute of given some sort of leeway or decrease or lesser fantastic as a result of it took too lengthy to get to court docket,” Ambrose mentioned.
One consultant with Moms Towards Drunk Driving (MADD), mentioned she had a case that took years to get by the system.
“I really simply stood with a household that their case was 4 years in the past. In order that backlog has had a really very very huge impression of their household as a consequence of their loss, but additionally as an advocate it’s a really huge impression on me as a result of I used to be with this household inside hours after that crash. We misplaced a mother and a dad and an eleven month outdated child survived,” mentioned Kimberly Cockrell, Sufferer’s Companies Supervisor, with Moms towards Drunk Driving.
Cockrell additionally misplaced somebody near her a few years in the past, and is glad that the Easley Police Division is doing one thing to crackdown on DUI circumstances.
“One factor that I’ve mentioned for the previous 28 years, the identical factor that I hear different households echo, that they by no means need one other household to endure the best way that we have now. What they’re doing in Easley, for the officer that would probably pull somebody off the roads earlier than they take a life, that’s big. That might really save a life,” Cockrell mentioned. “Having a chosen DUI officer is wonderful they’ll really give attention to simply that, which is big contemplating the variety of DUI’s that we have now that even lead to fatalities,” she added.
“So my mission is to cease all of those fatalities. Goal zero is actually what we’re attempting to get to throughout the metropolis of Easley, if not in your complete state of South Carolina,” Ambrose mentioned.
Ambrose mentioned the division will rent internally for the DUI place, and will probably be wanting externally, for the DUI prosecutor contractual worker.