Victims of drunk drivers will take part in the third annual Holiday Drive for DUI Victims this week, Wichita Police Department (WPD) officials announced today. The event, which starts Wednesday, is a partnership between the WPD, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, Kansas Highway Patrol, the Wichita Crime Commission, DUI Victims Center of Kansas, Wichita Public Schools, the Wichita Police/Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association (CPAAA ) and Papa John’s Pizza.
“Law enforcement locally and statewide will be cracking down on drunk drivers between Thanksgiving and New Years Day,” said Captain Russell Leeds, commander of the Patrol West Bureau, at a WPD morning news briefing.
Drunk driving potentially increases during the holiday season, officials said. To combat that annual trend, partnering organizations are raising public awareness about drunk driving during the holiday season and deputies and troopers will aggressively look for impaired drivers. Residents are being asked to help report impaired drivers.
The Holiday Drive project started this week as students from USD 259 high schools began tying red ribbons on student and faculty vehicles at their schools. To thank them for their hard work, Papa John’s will treat those students to pizza.
On Wednesday, volunteers from the CPAAA will provide officers snacks to enjoy as they work overnight into Thanksgiving Day on Thursday. That same night, volunteers from the DUI Victim Center of Kansas also will visit WPD and Sheriff’s Office squad meetings to tie special red ribbons on their patrol cars. Those ribbons will each carry the name of the victim of a drunk driver.
“DUIs are senseless crimes that take innocent lives,” said Mary Ann Khoury, director of the DUI Victims Center of Kansas. “The ribbons are reminders to be on the lookout for drunk drivers.” Residents wanting a red ribbon for their vehicle should contact the DUI Victim Center of Kansas at 316-262-1673.