Communities and states all over the country — including Havre — are preparing to beef up patrols over the holiday season with a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Havre’s Acting Police Chief Gabe Matosich said this week that the department will have extra patrols around town, starting next week and continuing through Jan. 1.
“We’ll have several extra patrols out in the afternoons, evenings and nights, kind of high density patrols, ” Matosich said.
Matosich said the patrols, and the state via federal grant that will pay for it, are being carried out because of the higher rates of drunken driving around the holidays.
“That’s kind of a high risk area, just because of people going out to social gatherings and drinking, ” Matosich said. “They want to put the extra patrols just because of the holidays and the extra activity going on. ”
The extra patrols are a part of a community effort to cut down on people driving under the influence.
Mayor Tim Solomon has seen the grant work well since the police department started receiving it.
“It definitely helps, the grant they’ve had in the past, as far as seeing more officers out there, ” Solomon said. “It helps the hours for them. ”
Another front in the fight against holiday drunken driving is the van shuttle run by Havre Ford and members of the Boys & Girls Club’s HELP Committee on New Year’s Eve.
Krista Solomon of the HELP Committee said she had just talked to Steve Steinmetz from Havre Ford who was excited about the program this year, after last year’s record response, carrying about 250 people in three vans throughout the night.
According to Steinmetz, a fourth may be required if the demand keeps up.
Aside from personal concerns, there are number of factors here to consider when determining how hard to hit the eggnog this year.