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Police force adds DUI enforcement officer

All over the country this weekend, DUI checkpoints will be set up to keep drunk drivers off the road.

Thanks to a grant, local efforts will be organized by a new DUI and traffic enforcement officer in the Brookhaven Police Department.

“We want to use this opportunity to take more of a proactive approach for prevention and deterrence rather than to wait and take a reactive approach after someone has been killed by an impaired driver,” BPD Commander David Johnson said.

The new officer position was funded by a grant from the Mississippi Department of Highway safety, and it pays for salary and equipment for a specialized traffic enforcement officer. As more grants are issued, Johnson said, officers in that position are becoming more popular.

Police Chief Bobby Bell appointed Thomas Barlow to the position of DUI and traffic enforcement officer. Johnson said the position includes but is not limited to traffic and DUI enforcement, spearheading and organizing checkpoints for drivers licenses, insurance and DUIs. Johnson said having an officer dedicated to DUI enforcement has allowed for more concentration on the issue, which has already produced results.

“We’re already seeing drastic results of him being in the position, probably beyond what my expectations were as to what would be accomplished in such a short period of time,” Johnson said. “In this early stage I can already see the effectiveness of what he’s doing.”

Barlow started serving in the DUI enforcement capacity in October and has been with BPD for almost three years. He said he likes the position and is dedicated to getting dangerous drivers off the streets.

“I like the position,” Barlow said. “I’m doing what I like to do making sure I keep unsafe people off the roadways protecting our families and loved ones.”

Barlow and Johnson said as prom season approaches, they urge parents to discuss drunk driving with their children. Making the responsible decision not to drink or do drugs and drive is a conversation police urge parents to have.