Operation STEP DWI - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/1/02

Operation STEP DWI

A Federal grant will help Lubbock Police take drunk drivers off the streets. Starting Tuesday (10/1), off-duty officers will be working over time, looking for DWI offenders.

Off duty Lubbock officers are going to spend about 2,500 hours in the next year targeting impaired drivers. It's part of a selective traffic enforcement program, also known as STEP. It gives law enforcement the chance to focus on one problem area. "This program will allow us put people out overtime, with purely DWI enforcement. While your working step grants of any kind you're not aloud to respond to routine calls for service unless there is an emergency or someone's life is in danger and that of course is different," says Sergeant Ronnie Sowell with the Lubbock Police Department.

Sergeant Sowell says officers volunteer to be a part of the STEP effort to prevent drunk driving accidents in the future. "We've got a core group of officers who work a lot of our STEP programs and they do a good job," Sowell said.

Sherhonda Ginn, knows first hand how important this effort is, her son was a victim of a drunk driving wreck nine years ago. "He was a Junior at Roosevelt High School coming home from a football game and a drunk driver coming on the wrong side of the road, in a black Camaro at 10:30 at night with no headlights on struck him head on," said Sherhonda.

She considers herself lucky, her only son Scott survived. But his injuries were extensive. He spent three months on the hospital, and spent years in physical therapy. "He was pinned, plated, screwed together both arms both legs, his feet, his hands, his face, his mouth, he's got a tremendous amount of scarring from the crash," Sherhonda said.

Scott is now 25-years-old, and he is ok. Sherhonda is now a spokesperson for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. She hopes the step initiative will help stop the problem. "It's going to step up the focus on DWI's and hopefully make our streets safer," says Sherhonda.

There have already been 17 traffic fatalities in Lubbock this year, a number the police department hopes won't grow. With so many police duties, officers manning the streets often times are swamped with service calls, but STEP DWI a number of officers will be patrolling the streets looking solely for drunk drivers.

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