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City police nets STOP-DWI law enforcement agency award

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The Watertown City Police Department was awarded a law enforcement agency award for its work in combatting driving while intoxicated and helping to keep Jefferson County roads safe.

The award luncheon was held Nov. 12 and hosted jointly by the NYS STOP-DWI Foundation Inc. and Mothers Against Drunk Driving, in conjunction with the state Division of Criminal Justice Services and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. The award for the city police department marks the first time it has won the award since 2001 and the fifth time overall.

Many factors, including enforcement, training and public awareness, go into winning the award. According to Watertown police Capt. Cheryl A. Clark, the department has stepped up in the past year. She said the department has upped its number of DWI checkpoints and DWI saturation details during especially busy periods when police suspect there may be a larger number of drunken drivers, such as holidays.

“If they know we’re going to be out there, they’re going to find another way home,” Capt. Clark said.

According to Watertown police, there were 159 DWI arrests last year — higher than the 125 to 140 arrests that Capt. Clark said is the typical yearly average. Despite its large presence in the area, Capt. Clark said, Fort Drum “doesn’t affect [the number of DWI arrests] that much.”

For now, the plan is to hold steady and continue the efforts that already are in place, which in addition to increased enforcement efforts include public service announcements—including driver education classes—and presentations to individual units at Fort Drum.

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