PARIS – Paris police will soon have an officer who will work overtime just to get drunks off the road.

Selectmen on Monday agreed to accept a $3,000 grant from the state Bureau of Highway Safety to offset the overtime costs required.

The money comes with a stipulation that the department make at least two arrests a month for operating under the influence during the one-year grant period.

That should be no problem, said Paris Cpl. Mike Dailey. Two years ago, the last time the department had the grant, Paris qualified with 21 monthly OUI arrests, which was the highest percentage in the state, higher even than much larger towns, Dailey said.

Last weekend, Paris police made OUI arrests on Friday and Saturday nights. The week before there was one arrest.

The good thing about the grant is that the officer on duty’s only responsibility is to look for OUI traffic, Dailey said. The officer will work during the prime time for OUI offenders, which is 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Paris didn’t apply for the OUI grant funds last year because of manpower shortages. With the recent hiring of Harry Simms as a full time officer, the department is just one person shy of its usual eight-person department, including the chief.

Ron Cole resigned several weeks ago for medical reasons, and it is not known yet when or whether that vacancy will be filled, Dailey said.


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