The Windham Police Department has been given a $5,000 grant for the National “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which began December 13 and will run for two weeks. It will continue for two weeks in August as well.
“Once a night until January 1st. We will be in different places running a saturation patrol. We hit the entire town,” said Sergeant Peter Fulton, who wrote the grant request. “There will be an extra patrol vehicle out to monitor the roadway looking for drunk drivers,” he said.
The national campaign is funded by the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety in Maine. Other area agencies are also involved like Westbrook for example. They are doing roadblocks, according to Fulton.
Windham has had 52 OUI arrests so far this year. Around 15 additional OUI arrests is what Fulton estimates they will have by January 1st. “The weather is not really cooperating with us,” he said. “It’s apparently keeping the drunks at home. I think a lot of people are award of the effort. That would be the best sign,” he added.
Local media outlets have been getting the word out to the communities about this program and Windham Police have posted information on its Facebook page and on the town website. “The public should be informed that departments are out there looking for drunk drivers,” Fulton said.
“It’s not like people intend to go out and kill someone,” Fulton said, but it does happen when one is drinking and driving.
Fulton recalled an event that happened just as he started working for Windham. A woman was on her way home as she crossed the intersection of River Road and Route 202 when she was hit head on by a drunk driver and killed. It was 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve and her car was filled with presents for her young children.
“That’s something that doesn’t go away. You don’t forget,” Fulton said.
Windham is also in the running for a $10,000 grant for speed enforcement, he said. We were chosen to apply because of the high number of accidents Windham has every year. The five year average is 477 accidents. The program will begin on January 2, so Fulton is hoping to hear next week if the department has the grant. The detail would run between January and September.