Grant helps take drunk drivers off the streets

By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Tupelo Police Department has made 148 DUI arrests since February with safety checkpoints alone.
The checkpoints are thanks to a $20,000 grant that is for specifically targeting drunk drivers. The funds pay overtime for the officers on the checkpoints.
Tupelo Police Maj. Anthony Hill said safety checkpoints are proactive ways to deter people from driving under the influence of alcohol.
“One drunk driver on the road is too many and although I don’t like the fact that we’ve had to make so many DUI arrests, I am happy that we have been able to get this many dangerous drunk drivers off the streets,” Hill said.
The grant was issued in May and has allowed for nearly double the amount of monthly safety checkpoints. Four checkpoints in May resulted in 30 DUI arrests. April brought in 23 arrests and March had 45. Hill said the numbers fluctuate depending on events and travel activity.
Police also rounded up drunk drivers during Memorial Day weekend, the first big holiday of the summer season. Maj. Jackie Clayton said there were 11 DUI arrests that weekend, 29 seat belt violations and 22 people wanted by police arrested during the two-week campaign. Those DUI numbers are in addition to the other checkpoint totals.
Clayton said whether it’s Click It or Ticket or DUI prevention, the goal of the police department remains the same.
“Our biggest concern and goal with all our programs is for the safety of the residents of Tupelo and those who come to visit our city on a daily basis,” said Clayton.
Extra safety checkpoints will continue to be set up through the city until grant funds are gone, said Hill.