Kentucky State Police Trooper Sam Little is no rookie to New Year’s Eve road checkpoints. With more than 20 years experience, he came out of retirement in December, sworn back into Commonwealth service and duty.
New Year’s Eve was precisely why Little returned as a KSP road unit. With collaborative effort between KSP and all local police agencies he keeps his own family safe, too.
The veteran stands on West Central Avenue alongside trooper brothers Shane Goodall and Joe Vorbeck, scrutinizing approaching sedan drivers headed out to festivities. They cautiously look inside pickups.
You can’t flee this dragnet. A driver attempts to avert the checkpoint stationed near a Little League ball field. Goodall jumps in his squad car to hook him at the top of the hill.
Lawmen checked licenses around town Monday evening as bad weather arrived. Saturated roving patrols and traffic safety checkpoints are a means to keep roadways safer for all of us, Little said.
“It’s definitely a deterrent to those who might choose to make bad decisions tonight. Word quickly gets out we’re here — so maybe people choose to not drink and drive. That’s what we hope for; because we will catch them. They won’t get away tonight.”
Goodall shines his Maglite into a car. A little girl strapped in her car-seat looks back and smiles at the uniformed silhouette. Friendly and dedicated, he waves and wishes the family a happy 2013, sending them off. Courteous motorists thank the trio of troopers for weathering cold conditions to keep us safe.
“One-on-one interaction with the public is positive,” said Goodall, a 2012 Governor’s Impaired Driving Enforcement award-winner. “We’re out here looking for drunk drivers, or people driving without seatbelts, or with unbuckled children. Seeing us here slows everyone down. It seems simple, but it works. This eliminates crashes and injuries.”
In 2012 Tpr. Goodall arrested 38 motorists driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. High visibility patrols like this reduces impaired-driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent.
Increased police presence is part of the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign which concluded Tuesday.
The Ashland police force blitzed the city with targeted enforcement. As the ball dropped on Judd Plaza, officers reported a calm New Year’s night – with no impaired driving arrests, only three traffic violations, and two domestic disturbance detentions, said Maj. Todd Kelley on Tuesday morning as midnight shift ended.
APD Lt. Mike Crawford attributes it the strong Delta police watch. Driving down Greenup Avenue close to midnight he points out Patrolman Adam Daniels. The policeman nabbed 18 drunk and drugged drivers in six months.
“I know there will always be somebody out there. I also know that guy could be driving down the same road as my family – or anybody’s family,” Daniels said. “It’s very important for us to pay attention. It’s very apparent when you see a DUI.”