Douglas County is one of seven Kansas counties and cities that will participate in a sobriety check lane program sponsored by the Kansas Department of Transportation and designed to curb drunken driving.
The Douglas County Sheriff's Department recently was awarded a $3,200 grant to pay for overtime for officers and equipment to run the lanes. Reno, Labette, McPherson and Johnson counties received similar grants, as did Dodge City and Hays.
Sheriff's Lt. Don Crowe said the first check lane will be run from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. May 25 on Clinton Parkway and Douglas County Road 1000E, which is on the western city limits.
Crowe said 10 to 12 sheriff's officers and Kansas Highway Patrol troopers would take part in the check lane. All eastbound drivers will be stopped and asked whether they have been drinking.
During the stop, Crowe said, officers will be searching for signs that the driver has been drinking, such as the smell of alcohol or open beer cans.
If officers believe a driver has been drinking, the driver will be given a sobriety test.
Crowe said Douglas County was recruited for the program by a Kansas Department of Transportation representative who had heard about the success of several driver's license check lane programs run by the county and by the Lawrence Police Department.
Crowe said the grant will allow officers to run six sobriety check lanes, including the May 25 check lane. He said the $3,200 pays for traffic cones, road flares, safety vests and overtime pay so that six off-duty officers can take part in each check lane.
Crowe said future check lanes will be conducted both in the county and in Lawrence.