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Agencies Combine to Form Regional DWI Task Force

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Nearly two dozen law enforcement agencies in southwest Missouri have joined forces in the fight against drunk driving.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Nearly two dozen law enforcement agencies in southwest Missouri have joined forces in the fight against drunk driving.

The Central Ozarks Regional DWI Task Force was announced Tuesday at an event at Hammons Field in Springfield.

The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety says the various law enforcement agencies can combine manpower, equipment and other resources to improve DWI enforcement in the region.

"If you look at a list of the counties in Missouri with the top 75 percent of alcohol related fatalities, 11 of those counties are right here in southwest Missouri," says Pam Holt from the Coalition.

 Holt says the CORDTF can make a difference in the Ozarks.  "One of the best attributes about the Ozarks in southwest Missouri is the ability to come together in times of need to find a solve a problem."

The task force is made up of agencies from 10 counties with the highest rate of DWI accidents in the state.
Captain Ben King from the Springfield Police Department explains how it works.  "Any agency that is part of the task force can ask for help with sobriety checkpoints."

Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott says the task force does more than just enforce the law. "Not only is this going to be a great advantage for all our agencies to not just work together but train together."

Holt says the task force will help smaller agencies crack down as well.  "What they can do is put together an operation plan, whats it going to look like, whats the traffic flow and they can call on their partners from these other 21 agencies."

The task force will be paid for with a Division of Highway Safety grant and from budgets of all the participating departments.

Agencies involved in the new effort include sheriff's departments in Cedar, Christian, Greene, Lawrence, Stone and Webster counties. 

Also involved are the Billings Police Dept., Bolivar Police Dept., Branson West Police Dept., Forsyth Police Dept., Fordland Police Dept., Kimberling City Police Dept., Hollister Police Dept., Merriam Woods Police Dept., Nixa Police Dept., Ozark Police Dept., Republic Police Dept., Rockaway Beach Police Dept., Springfield Police Dept., Strafford Police Dept., Missouri State Highway Patrol, & the SW Region, Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. 

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