SIOUX FALLS, SD -
The South Dakota Highway Patrol turned up the burner on the “100 Days Of Heat" campaign Thursday. The additional patrol comes from support from across the border.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol works each day to promote safe driving across the state. The Minnesota State Patrol does the same across the border. Thursday, the two agencies are working together focusing on a busy stretch of Interstate 90.
“We wanted to do something together because what we find out is that the problems that we face in South Dakota on highway safety are the same in Minnesota. The same things cause crashes over there as they do over here," Captain Kevin Joffer of the South Dakota Highway Patrol said.
The Minnesota State Patrol placed 15 troopers between the border and Worthington. They compliment the 25 working from the border to Mitchell on the South Dakota side. This is the first time the two agencies have worked together in an effort to enforce the similar laws on both sides of the border. The increased patrol started at 7 a.m. Thursday and runs through 11 p.m.
"Our greatest concern is to make sure we provide the best service possible for the citizens of our states or the people that are passing through," Captain Brian West of the Minnesota State Patrol said.
Both sides of the operation say they're hopeful they'll be able to work together again in a similar fashion. Their goal is to make each trip a safer one, no matter where that's taking place.
Troopers are watching for speeders, impaired drivers and those not paying attention behind the wheel.
"People using their cell phone, texting, not paying attention to their driving, that is our number one major problem in Minnesota right now is distracted drivers," West said.
And with Thursday's increased presence on I-90, troopers hope it will leave a lasting impression on drivers.
"If people can make those changes and if we can educate people on the side of the road with a face-to-face conversation, we're moving forward with saving lives, and our whole goal today is to be successful in getting the message out," West said.
That's the ultimate goal for troopers everywhere.
Troopers in northern Minnesota spent the day working on a similar plan with Canadian Law Enforcement. The South Dakota Highway Patrol even included its helicopter in Thursday's enforcement, using it to watch for speeders and trucks trying to avoid weigh stations.
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