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Area police departments pool talent to combat OUI

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Area police departments pool talent to combat OUI

FALMOUTH — Officials from a dozen Maine law enforcement agencies gathered at the Falmouth Police Department Wednesday afternoon to publicize a joint program to stop impaired driving.

Funded by the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety, the program is called Regional Impaired Driving Enforcement, or RIDE.

Police Lt. John Kilbride said the program brings together officers throughout Cumberland County who are specially trained in detection of drivers operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

In addition to Falmouth police, agencies participating in RIDE include the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, Maine State Police and police departments from Bridgton, Brunswick, Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland, Gorham, Scarborough, Westbrook, Windham and Yarmouth.

Multi-agency RIDE teams will conduct concentrated enforcement throughout the county, targeting roads where alcohol- or drug-impaired driving is common.

"Together, these officers saturate a problem area, and because they're so highly skilled, they have a great impact," Kilbride said.

Since getting underway without fanfare in April, the program already has netted results.

For example, RIDE members from the Maine State Police and the Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Gorham and Windham police departments conducted an enforcement detail at several locations in Falmouth on July 7, Kilbride said. After lawfully stopping 65 vehicles, the RIDE team made three arrests – one for OUI alcohol, one for OUI drugs and one for operating after license suspension.

"(The RIDE teams) are a highly effective tool," Kilbride said. "When it comes to OUI, these officers represent the best of the best."

William Hall of The Forecaster can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or whall@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @hallwilliam4.