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SF Police Issue 500+ Unsafe Driving Citations

Kealey Bultena

Sioux Falls Police officers are issuing hundreds of tickets as part of a crackdown on unsafe driving. Details from this weekend’s saturation patrol show violations ranging from speeding to drugs and alcohol. Authorities, however, say the enforcement push is about more than writing citations.

On Friday night, more than two dozen extra police officers patrolled Sioux Falls watching for drivers breaking traffic laws. Officer Sam Clemens says the result is 329 citations. 

"We’ve been doing DUI enforcement and speed enforcement for years, and there’s been big pushes in public campaigns to reduce those, but this is one night and we had 13 DWIs and 60 speeding tickets, and I think that shows that there’s a big problem out there," Clemens says.

Clemens says officials saturated the streets again Saturday night. They found one person driving under the influence, arrested people for drugs, and issued 34 speeding tickets. Those plus other offenses total 189 violations for a single night.

Grant funding pays to add extra officers on the streets. They don’t take regular police calls. Their only purpose is to watch for unsafe driving. Clemens says authorities are talking so much about the saturation patrols because they want people to follow the law on their own.

"If we get people to do that, then we don’t have to write tickets. That’s fine with me. That’s fine with everybody in this department," Clemens says. "I don’t think there are a lot of officers that really enjoy writing tickets, but it’s one of the things that we do to try to remind people that you have to follow the rules. The rules are there for a reason; it’s to make the roadways safe for all. And the safer we can make those roadways, whether it’s by writing tickets or getting just people following the rules on their own because they know we’re out there, it’s a win."

During the weekend law enforcement push, extra officers policed the city from 7:30 p.m. until 3 a.m.

Clemens says officials plan to launch similar efforts all summer and into the fall.

Kealey Bultena grew up in South Dakota, where her grandparents took advantage of the state’s agriculture at nap time, tricking her into car rides to “go see cows.” Rarely did she stay awake long enough to see the livestock, but now she writes stories about the animals – and the legislature and education and much more. Kealey worked in television for four years while attending the University of South Dakota. She started interning with South Dakota Public Broadcasting in September 2010 and accepted a position with television in 2011. Now Kealey is the radio news producer stationed in Sioux Falls. As a multi-media journalist, Kealey prides herself on the diversity of the stories she tells and the impact her work has on people across the state. Kealey is always searching for new ideas. Let her know of a great story! Find her on Facebook and twitter (@KealeySDPB).