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DWIs declining in Perham while overall police response increased

A Perham Police car as seen on Jan. 8, 2019. (Carter Jones / Focus)

DWIs were down significantly in Perham this past year, dropping 20 percent, following a long term decline statewide in DWIs.

Perham Police Chief Jason Hoaby said the department has increased its DWI enforcement through the Towards Zero Death state grant.

"I don't know if that's the reason why or if people are just making smarter choices not to drink and drive," Hoaby said.

With the lack of public transportation and ride sharing apps available to area residents, it can be hard to find a way home once it's too late. "There are very few options, but the best option is to be responsible before you go," Hoaby said. "Don't get caught thinking I've had too many, and I have a car here and need to drive home."

First time DWI offenders are subject to criminal penalties, including 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine, as well as administrative sanctions. Depending on the severity of the offense, a driver can lose driving privileges from 15 days to a year, impounded license plates, vehicle forfeited and ignition interlock installed. All alcohol-related loss of driving privileges also requires a $680 reinstatement fee, DWI knowledge test, driver's license application with fees and chemical health assessment.

Calls for service up

The Perham Police Department responded to a total of 2,613 service calls in 2018, a seven percent increase from 2017. Perham Police saw mixed increases and decreases in more serious crimes. Assault was up from 11 in 2017 to 14 in 2018. Burglary was down from 16 in 2017 to 12 in 2018. Child abuse/neglect cases dropped from 16 in 2017 to 8 in 2018. Sexual assault was down from 7 in 2017 to 4 in 2018. Vandalism increased from 27 cases in 2017 to 40 in 2018. Vehicle theft dipped from 7 cases in 2017 to 2 in 2018. Theft/fraud reports moved from 81 in 2017 to 73 in 2018.