Darrell Todd Maurina
If you like to drive drunk or don’t like using your seat belt, you don’t want to drive in Clovis this month.
The Clovis Police Department is one of 81 law enforcement agencies statewide participating in Superblitz, a program of saturation patrols sponsored by the Traffic Safety Bureau of the New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department. In addition to the New Mexico State Police, other nearby participating agencies include the Texico Police Department, Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office, Portales Police Department, Tucumcari Police Department, and the DeBaca Sheriff’s Office.
Sgt. Chris Kinley of the Clovis Police Department said the Superblitz program uses grant money to add additional officers to patrols and is typically run several times per year. The current Superblitz began May 12 and will run through May 25.
“We do various activities,” Kinley said. “One of those aspects is targeting seat belt usage, and we do targeted roadblocks in areas that have high numbers of (driving while intoxicated) offenses.”
Kinley said law enforcement announce Superblitz enforcement programs to promote good driving habits.
“The main thing is we are simply trying to obtain voluntary compliance with all traffic laws,” Kinley said. “Our main concern is the amount of drinking and driving and also trying to raise seat belt usage in the City of Clovis.”
According to Kinley, New Mexico’s statewide seat belt complaince rance is 75 percent, and the Traffic Safety Bureau hopes the Superblitz program will increase those numbers.
While not always the most popular aspect of the program, Kinley said traffic roadblocks help law enforcement not only by stopping people who shouldn’t be driving but also by promoting positive contact between police and drivers.
“We know some people view roadblocks as an inconvenience, but we feel roadblocks are very helpful in building community relations,” said Kinley.