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State patrol 'saturating' El Paso, Teller counties to reinforce rules of the road

August 24, 2014
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An increased force of Colorado State Patrol troopers are patrolling El Paso and Teller counties this weekend in an effort to crack down on unlawful driving.

The enhanced patrols began at 6 p.m. Friday and continue until midnight Monday.

This is the third of four "saturation patrols" this year for the troop that covers El Paso and Teller counties.

With increased traffic from the USA Pro Challenge bicycle race this weekend, State Patrol Sgt. Daniel Haley said, the goal is to have extra support on hand to reduce the number of crashes and reinforce rules of the road.

"A lot of it is education," he said. "And sometimes the education happens through a citation."

Troopers are especially focused on people driving under the influence, not wearing seat belts, speeding and not moving over when law enforcement, emergency personnel and tow trucks are on the side of the road.

State Patrol Cpl. Ryan Novotny said saturation patrols provide a welcome boost to the number of troopers working, which allows for a greater opportunity to catch more drivers breaking the rules.

On a normal night, he said, there are about "four to five" troopers on patrol. During a saturation patrol, the number is closer to a dozen.

Troopers have to work on their off days to be out on patrol this weekend, but Novotny said it's worth it.

"We're not trying to get (drivers) in trouble," he said. "What we're trying to do is prevent accidents from happening."

Haley said that on Saturday and Sunday night, extra troopers would be used to patrol areas of Teller County, including the U.S. 24 corridor and Colorado 67 near Cripple Creek, to have an extra focus on impaired drivers.

"It's a big commitment for our troopers to make," he said. "If we're able to go the whole weekend without any fatalities or major accidents, we would consider that a success."

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Contact Stephen Hobbs: 636-0275

Twitter @bystephenhobbs

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