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Joplin City Council approves continued funding for DWI unit - KOAM TV 7

Joplin City Council approves continued funding for DWI unit

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

The Joplin Police Department has specific officers designated to a full time DWI unit.

Tonight, the Joplin City Council unanimously votes to approve continued funding for the unit from the Missouri Department of Transportation. 

“When you look at how many miles of roads we have within the city it takes multiple resources and that's why it’s important for us to get the funding for those resources so we do our very best to help protect citizens,” says Joplin Mayor Mike Seibert.

The unit is made up of 2 officers that patrol specifically intoxicated drivers and run checkpoints in several different counties.

“The importance of having these guys out there is basically for deterrence, so we can show the public that hey we're doing something about this and people need to be aware that DWI officers are out there so there’s no excuse to be driving while intoxicated," says Joe Kowis with the Joplin Police Department.

The department first received the grant for a full time unit in 2010. A large part of the grant goes towards half of the salaries of the 2 officers.

“As a police department we generally get around 500 to 600 DWI arrests a year and that's kind of been a standard since about 2004 and our DWI officers, basically at this point, they account for a lot more of those arrest and it frees up other officers to do other things,” continues Kowis.

Each year the Joplin Police Department’s DWI unit has led the state in the number of DWI arrests when compared to other units that receive funding under the same grant. Originally, funding for the positions was going to be eliminated after 3 years but because the unit has been so successful, the state has continued funding.

“Our DWI officers are very very proactive, we have really strict enforcement. That's their jobs, saving lives, they do it every night,” says Kowis.

Police officials say that many officers will conduct a couple hundred DWI arrests in their entire career. Some Joplin officers already have over 1,000.

Also at tonight's meeting, the council decided that during the October 19 meeting, each applicant for the open council seat will have 5 minutes to present themselves to council.

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