Training targets impaired drivers in Champaign County

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The Springfield News-Sun digs into important stories about public safety concerns, including recent coverage of the increasing number of overdose deaths and plans to increase local treatment options.

Local law enforcement officers went through training this week to spot drivers under the influence of drugs as the number of impaired driver arrests has increased.

The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office hosted an ARIDE training session on Monday and Tuesday for officers throughout the area.

The training, which stands for Advanced Roadside Impairment Driving Enforcement, is offered by the state to teach officers about the effects of narcotics on individuals.

“It’s probably the most proactive thing we can do as an officer,” said Lt. Brian Aller, Springfield Post Commander for the Ohio State Highway Patrol. “You know you save lives when you arrest impaired drivers and get them off the roadway.”

Aller lead the sessions for about 25 officers Tuesday on how to differentiate reactions to certain drugs.

“People are getting killed everyday by these folks who really don’t care that they’re being impaired and driving,” he said.

The heroin epidemic has contributed to a rise in impaired drivers, Aller said.

“If you have a huge drug problem in an area, you also have a huge OVI problem,” he said.

Six Champaign County deputies participated in the training, said Capt. David Rapp from the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office. And several others have already received it.

“We want to keep our public roadways safe and protect the public,” he said.

Operating a Vehicle while Impaired arrests in Champaign County are up. This time last year 14 people had been arrested for driving under the influence, according to data from the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office. So far this year, there have been 20 arrests.

One of those arrests came early Tuesday morning.

Chelsea Olsen, 25, of Milford Center, was found in a vehicle off the roadway at Ault Road and East U.S. 36, Rapp said.

Deputies detected an odor of alcohol and noticed a 10-month-old child in the backseat, he said. They also found evidence of marijuana.

Olsen was charged with endangering children, physical control of motor vehicle and marijuana paraphernalia, he said. The child was released to family members.

“This (program) just assists the officers with updated current training,” Rapp said.