As we approach another holiday season, many people are focused on family gatherings, food and festivity. Within the law enforcement community, we’re asking everyone to focus on another vitally important issue: please travel safely and responsibly.

We know that historically, the holiday season can quickly turn tragic, especially when someone makes the dangerous and irresponsible decision to drive impaired. Needless crashes devastate families and ruin holidays. To help keep our communities and roadways as safe as possible, the The Town of Oakland Police Department will join law enforcement agencies across Wisconsin during the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Holiday Campaign” December 13 through New Year’s Day. During this period, officers will patrol in greater numbers for longer hours — not to stop or cite motorists – but to discourage dangerous driving behaviors.

Alcohol-related crashes remain a serious problem, accounting for about one-third of all traffic fatalities. But impaired driving doesn’t just mean alcohol. We also face challenges with drugged drivers – people whose ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is compromised by illegal drugs like heroin, prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Law enforcement is doing everything it can. In Wisconsin, we have 23 multi-jurisdictional OWI enforcement task forces that operate throughout the year. To detect impaired drivers and get them off the roads, about 6,000 Wisconsin law enforcement officers are trained in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement.

But we need community support. Never allow someone to drive impaired. If you encounter a driver you suspect is impaired, safely call 911 and provide as much detail as you can. Protect yourself and your passengers by buckling up, watch your speed and eliminate distractions. Wishing you a happy and safe holiday season.

- Captain Tracy Thom, Town of Oakland Police Department

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