PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are cracking down even more on drunk driving starting this week.
The Police Department announced today that they increasing patrols, stationing undercover officers in and around retail shops that serve alcohol and possibly establishing sobriety checkpoints.
The increased presence comes when most high schools are holding their proms - additional patrols are expected around prom activities - and graduations. But Police say they are also combating car crashes involving college students returning home for the summer.
"We are working with our community partners and the schools to help ensure that these occasions are not overshadowed by the tragedy of any serious collisions involving teens and young adults,” said Sgt. Mark Trapani, who supervises Police traffic-related activities. "Beyond the high school focus, We also see a spike in the occurrence of alcohol-involved crashes which involve college students who return back to the Berkshires for their summer break."
Car crashes involving alcohol begin to rise annually around this time, Police said. While typically the increased presence is paid for with state grants, the department did not receive those this year but are instead being supported by an initiative of the Berkshire United Way, the Pittsfield Prevention Partnership.
"We are committed to getting the word out that driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is something we cannot afford to overlook in our community," said Chief Michael Wynn. "People who die in impaired-driving crashes are real people. They are our families, friends, and neighbors, and their deaths are preventable; they are not accidents."
Trapani added, "We are very fortunate to have a partner like the PPP, which has stepped forward to help fund our enforcement efforts... In the end, we are all trying to keep our young adults, and our roads, as safe as possible."
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