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Police in Onondaga County crack down on Halloween drunk drivers

It won't be someone in a police costume pulling drunk drivers over this weekend. Police agencies across Onondaga County are cracking down on Halloween partiers in what has become a busy weekend for police when it comes to drunk driving.

Onondaga County Stop DWI Coordinator Barry Weiss has advice for anyone heading out to a Halloween party serving adult beverages this weekend:

"When you choose your costume, make sure you choose your designated driver as well," Weiss said.

Fifteen police agencies, including the Onondaga County Sheriff's department and Syracuse City Police, will be using part of a state grant to pay for extra patrols whose only job will be to  pull over suspected drunk drivers.

Dewitt Police Chief Gene Conway says they see a jump in the number of people drinking and driving on the weekend before Halloween every year, and there are some federal statistics to back them up.

"Forty-one percent of fatalities during that period involved people who had been drinking and had a BAC of .08 or higher," Conway said. "That's a significant percentage for that one period, that Halloween period, of people who are killed and alcohol being involved."

These Onondaga County agencies are the only ones across the state using the Stop DWI Money for the Halloween weekend. Police will also be targeting drunk drivers the night before Thanksgiving, which is another time officers see a larger than normal number of drunk drivers.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.