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St. Clairsville OSHP Post Commander wants to crack down on drunken drivers

Updated: Tuesday, March 11 2014, 05:42 PM EDT

BELMONT COUNTY, W.Va. -- Lieutenant James Faunda was recently named commander of the St. Clairsville post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

After barely two weeks on the job, Faunda is already working toward one important goal: to reduce the number of alcohol-related fatalities on the roads.

In 2013, Ohio had one of the safest years on record when it comes to the number of traffic fatalities.

But it’s not all good news. Half of the fatal crashes in the area involved impaired drivers, alcohol and/or drug related.

Faunda says more troopers are out patrolling, cracking down on offenders.

“My main focus is reducing the number of OVI deaths that occur in Monroe and Belmont County, that’s our primary focus in addition to the criminal control aspect. We are going to continue to use federal overtime; we’re going to partner with other departments to increase our OVI arrests.”

Faunda has a lot of new responsibilities on his plate, but it’s not stopping him from getting criminals off of the roads.

“We do that through traffic enforcement, every vehicle we stop, we look beyond the initial stop to see what is exactly going on,” he said.

The highway patrol plans to use the latest technology to pinpoint where the trends are occurring and place officers in those locations.

“Where the OVI arrests being made, where the drug traffickers are being stopped and we use that data to use what we call target enforcement,” Faunda said. “We target specific areas where these crimes are occurring, where these drivers are being arrested, or where people are dying in traffic crashes.”

Through years of experience, Faunda has kept the same message for those in the community.

“Don’t drink and drive because we will find you, we will arrest you and we will put you in jail,” he said.

Faunda said one of the things he is looking forward to as commander is working more with the community.

He will continue to reach out to people in the area, students, and civic groups and talk to them about safe driving habits.

St. Clairsville OSHP Post Commander wants to crack down on drunken drivers

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