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Deputies keep roads safe from DUIs

Posted: Sunday, January 10, 2010

Brace yourselves for some shocking news: Columbia County arrests for driving under the influence increased in 2009.

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Here's the rest of the story, though: The number rose from just 325 the year before, to a total of 356 arrests in 2009. That's still below the 359 drunken driving arrests made in 2007.

"Are there more people driving under the influence, or are Columbia County deputies just catching more?" asks Columbia County Sheriff's Office Capt. Steve Morris, who supplies the year-end statistics.

"Not sure we can answer that question with 100 percent accuracy," he adds. "One thing for certain: enforcement has remained constant over the years as have arrest totals, which show a slight increase in 2009."

The remarkable thing for Columbia County is that these numbers have stayed virtually flat from year to year despite the county's well-documented rising population. That means we're getting bigger, but citizens mostly are behaving themselves better.

And those who don't, the sheriff's office is there to nail them for it.

"Calling a friend or calling a taxi is cheaper than a DUI, a lot cheaper than a burial and substantially more pleasant than an arrest," Morris points out.

It's certainly safer for all the other motorists on the road, too - the ones who recognize the inherent danger of getting behind the wheel after having one too many.

Those drivers, who have gotten the message, appreciate the Columbia County Sheriff's Office and its efforts to help protect them from those who haven't.

Keep up the good work, officers.

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