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Statewide DWI crackdown nets 2,573 arrests, 21 in Kandiyohi Co., Minn.

ST. PAUL -- A statewide enhanced DWI enforcement campaign in December resulted in the arrest of 2,573 impaired motorists. Preliminary DWI arrest totals were reported to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety by 314 law enforcement agencies.

The total includes 11 arrests by the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's office, eight by the Willmar Police Department, two each by the Atwater Police Department and the Swift County Sheriff's office and one arrest by the Benson Police Department.

A total of 51 arrests were made by the Minnesota State Patrol in the 2600 district, which includes Willmar and St. Cloud. The State Patrol reported 606 total arrests during the effort.

The highest alcohol-concentration reported was 0.39. Twenty agencies reported their highest alcohol-concentration in an arrest was at or above 0.30, and more than 100 agencies reported their highest alcohol-concentration was at or above 0.20. The legal limit is 0.08.

In Greater Minnesota, where a majority of alcohol-related traffic deaths occur each year, St. Cloud Police arrested 38, followed by Red Lake Law Enforcement (35); Moorhead Police (34); Rochester Police (32); Duluth Police (28); Austin Police and Olmsted Police (each with 22); and Beltrami Sheriff (21).

In Minnesota, one in seven drivers has a DWI on record. In 2010, 29,918 motorists were arrested for DWI.

"The consequences of a DWI are harsh for a good reason," says Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol. "Drunk driving results in hundreds of deaths and injuries each year."

Roeske stresses to always plan for a safe ride in 2012 -- designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation, or stay at the location of the celebration. He says families should let each other know that they will be available to offer a safe ride home. Roeske adds motorists can help stop impaired drivers by calling 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Witnesses must be prepared to provide location, license plate and observed dangerous behavior.