The Ottawa Police Department this weekend will join other law enforcement agencies in Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma to curb drug impaired driving — an increasing epidemic for the past several years, law enforcement officials said.
In an effort to change this trend, law enforcement across the six-state area will be extra-vigilant when patrolling around city, state and federal highways this weekend, according to an Ottawa Police Department news release. Injury and deaths continue to increase from both alcohol and drug impaired drivers, the release said. Regardless whether a drug is legal or illegal, law enforcement officials said, it’s a serious crime to drive while impaired by any drug. Officials emphasized impaired driving is not a victimless crime.
All available Drug Recognition Expert and Advanced Roadside Impaired Driver Enforcement officers will be out in force in an effort to remove this danger, the release said. Officers will issue citations to any individual who refuses to obey the traffic laws, whether it is for driving while impaired, for speeding, texting, or failing to buckle up, according to the release. If a suspected violator refuses to submit to a blood test, a search warrant can be obtained for that individual’s blood, the release said.
“Even one death is unacceptable,” Sgt. Steven Burkhart, STEP coordinator with the Ottawa Police Department, said. “Please don’t drive while impaired, slow down, put the phone away or turn it off, and always buckle up.”