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Trooper checkpoints yield fewer arrests compared to past years

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LAWTON, Okla._Local law enforcement officials say this year's Fourth of July weekend turned out to be relatively peaceful, with arrest numbers that were quite low compared to last year.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol worked in conjunction with the Lawton Police Department, and the Comanche Nation Police Department to set up checkpoints around the area. The checkpoint on
Southwest Lee Boulevard Friday night did lead to a drug arrest. Investigators used the Comanche Tribal Police's K-9 unit to uncover 25 grams of marijuana, as well as drug paraphernalia. But that seemed to be the exception.

With no fatalities, and fewer than ten arrests for DUI, the Highway Patrol says 'Mission accomplished.'

Whether celebrating Independence Day at the lakes or the concert at Fort Sill, this year's partiers were on their best behavior, for the most part. Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Russell Broswell explained what may have led to the decline.

"I think the presence of the law enforcement in the area, and through the media, has slowed down the drinking and driving," said Trooper Broswell.

OHP worked in conjunction with other law enforcement departments to cover areas within Comanche County. Officials say the arrest near Lee Boulevard and 56th Street was the largest civilian arrest over the weekend. Broswell also broke down the collisions and citations issued in Troop G.

"There were 63 speeding citations, 56 seatbelt citations, 8 child-restraint citations, and a total of 12 collision-traffic accidents," said Broswell.

DUI arrests were very low this year and there were also no alcohol-related fatalities for the fourth year in a row. The alcohol-related fatality rate began to drop drastically beginning in 2009 and Broswell believes it all started due to OHP's 'Operation Care.'

"It's a group involvement for Troop G for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. (We're) just going out there, making sure the public is safe, the roadways are safe, protecting the citizens of Oklahoma," said Broswell.

OHP is proud of the baby steps they're making towards having a safer community and Broswell believes they are making a difference.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol expects to set up another checkpoint in August in connection with the annual Lawton Rangers Rodeo.


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