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Bozeman Police: New Year's Eve DUI numbers down

Published On: Jan 01 2013 07:24:59 PM MST   Updated On: Jan 01 2013 07:28:04 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Downtown Bozeman is a place many come to party on New Year's Eve but it's also a place where police are on the lookout for impaired drivers.

"If they see somebody who's intoxicated who might be getting into a vehicle, they'll stop it," says Bozeman Police Sergeant Andy Knight.

The Gallatin County Sheriff's Office say they saw two DUI's in Big Sky, while Bozeman Police say they saw three DUI's on New Year's Eve.  That's one fewer than last year and three fewer than in 2010.  

I wanted to know why officers thought they saw fewer DUI's this year so, I sat down with Sergeant Andy Knight with the Bozeman Police Department to find out more.  He told me they attribute lower numbers to a number of factors. 

He says having the holiday fall on a week day may have meant fewer people were out and he told me they also had fewer officers on the street than they would on the weekends.

"It prevents us from being as proactive on certain things," says Knight.

Police also credit a preventative strategy- making officers visible to the public- in helping to deter folks who've had too much to drink from getting behind the wheel.   

"When people see a police officer driving around or they see a police officer who's walking downtown, they're less likely to engage in activity, again, whether it's DUI or it's disorderly conduct," explains Knight.

Bozeman Police tell me they prefer to stop drunk drivers before they get behind the wheel, rather than try to catch them once they've gotten on the road where they could potentially harm themselves or someone else.