Written by John Plestina
The Roosevelt County DUI Task Force came a step closer to becoming a reality with the Roosevelt County Commissioners approving a resolution that formally establishes it Tuesday, April 29.
The Roosevelt County DUI Task Force has held organizational meetings since December, but remains in an organizational stage. A group of people who have met in recent months are working to develop a charter, plan of operations and by-laws. Officers are expected to be elected during a meeting this week.
The group announced its needs for participation in January that included people to become active participants who represent diverse sectors of the communities in Roosevelt County. Those include parents, daycare providers, students, senior citizens and crash survivors. The group has also sought representatives of businesses that include insurance agents and bar owners. Other areas that representation has been sought from include education, clergy, health care, emergency medical services, all aspects of law enforcement including Wolf Point Police, Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office, Montana Highway Patrol and probation and parole, and civic organizations that include the Elks Lodge, Lions and Optimists clubs and veterans organizations.
DUI task force coordinator Mary Vine said many of those areas are now covered by volunteers who attend monthly meetings.
“We will always welcome more members as we are still getting this started. This is just an example of the sectors that most task forces have. We may not get a person from each sector, but we are being represented by most. I am still trying to recruit some of the local businesses, but I am very limited with my time right now,” she said.
“There is a big misconception with the public as to what the DUI Task Force is all about. When the community heard that I was the coordinator and I would go out in the public, they thought I would get their plate numbers down and report to the police that they were at the bars drinking. That is not at all what we are about,” Vine said. “We are here to educate about over- serving from bartenders, getting rides instead of driving and just being responsible if you are out drinking. Simple stuff like that.”
DUI task forces across the nation are multi-faceted coalitions that invite participation from a cross-section of the communities they serve with a goal of educating the public, planning and enforcing strategies and activities to help reduce alcohol-involved traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities.
County commissioner Gary Macdonald helped organize the task force. He received task force training in Helena.
He said earlier this year that the county receives half of the $200 that is collected from every person who is convicted of DUI that later gets their licenses reinstated. That funding could fund the task force.
The Roosevelt County DUI Task Force will meet at the Roosevelt County Community Services Building, 124 Custer St., Wednesday, May 7, at 2 p.m.
For more information about the DUI task force, contact Vine at 653-6228.