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July 14, 2012 10:03 PM

Saturation Patrol Keeps City Safe

sioux falls, sd

Sioux Falls police are putting the heat on drivers this weekend after a saturation patrol kept more than a dozen officers busy overnight.

Officer Kevin Hankel is one of more than a dozen extra officers working this weekend. The special saturation patrol is a zero-tolerance enforcement effort on Sioux Falls streets.

"Besides the regular shift, there is an extra 15 officers out," Hankel said. "If something would happen, we'd be there."

Three hours into his shift, Hankel stops below the East 10th Street viaduct looking for speeders with his radar.

While he’s going easy on speeders, no one is getting out of a ticket tonight.

As the night wears on, the focus changes to the most deadly drivers on the road.

"Once the sun goes down and the bars get out, there is going to be plenty of drunk drivers that are putting people in danger. They will be the most common stop after bar close," Hankel said.

Within minutes, dispatch asks him to test a suspected drunk driver riding a scooter in Whittier Park. And after failing both tests and a breathalyzer, the woman's handcuffed and sent to jail.

As the officers stay busy into the early hours of the morning, they know the increased presence will reduce crime.

"I have to believe that when someone is driving around, if they are looking to commit a crime, they are going to feel a lot less secure in their decision to do something like that," Hankel said.

Police haven't yet released official numbers from the last night's saturation. They will have extra officers out Saturday night in Sioux Falls too.

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