Omaha Police release Impaired Driving Campaign numbers

Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 2:36 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A week-long effort to deter drivers from getting behind the wheel while under the influence turned up quite a number of arrests in Omaha.

Police are cracking down with a new campaign, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

From April 18th-24th police made double-digit arrests and handed out several citations.

They don’t care if it’s just a buzz, if you’re under any influence behind the wheel, you are responsible.

“You know even a little bit, I find now one is not enough and two is too many,” said Terri Salankey.

Holding back is not part of Terri Salankey’s recovery. The 62-year-old is sharing her own bouts with driving drunk in hopes of getting just one person to take OPD’s crackdown seriously.

”I was definitely drunk. I had an open bottle in my car too.”

Omaha police spent seven days last week on a campaign that not only focused on drunk drivers but those on drugs.

Here are the numbers:

  • Driving Under the Influence Arrests - 15
  • Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Arrests - 8
  • Other Drug Offense Arrests - 7
  • Warrant Arrests - 5
  • Speeding Citations - 15
  • Total Traffic Citations - 69
  • Total Arrests - 44

Eight of the 23 people arrested for impaired driving were allegedly high on something other than alcohol.

Arrests were one part of the campaign though.

OPD officers promoted ways to keep the community safer like calling a ride-share or asking a friend to be a designated driver.

The department’s Project Night Life Squad also included a section on drugged driving in the safety presentations they do in high schools. Currently all three members of the squad are Drug Recognition Experts, specially trained officers who conduct court-recognized evaluations of drug-impaired drivers.

“Even smoking pot, it’s still illegal. Really if you think about it you can hurt yourself and hurt others,” said Salankey.

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Numbers back it up. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in 2018 46% of drivers killed in crashes tested positive for drugs.

Alcohol was Salankey’s addiction at the time of her arrest last year in Ogallala.

For her this campaign is more than a suggestion, it’s a way to help others from being a decision away from turning their lives upside down.

”It was scary. It was stupid. I’m dumb. You are your own worst enemy.”

That’s what played in her head the third and final time she was caught driving under the influence.

After going through a rough divorce separating from her husband of 40 years, Salankey is sharing her story not to judge others but to help hold them accountable.

”Seek the help if you can. Gain a support group.”

For her, that’s Stephen Center helping her achieve two months of sobriety.

Omaha police reminds the public with these numbers that anything less than driving sober will result in consequences.

Terri Salankey is part of Stephen Center’s Hero program. It features licensed treatment for addiction to substance use.

It provides substance use treatment for low-income and homeless individuals. Services are also provided for those who are dually diagnosed with both substance abuse and mental illness.

As part of OPD’s campaign, they are reminding everyone that alcohol and THC can slow reaction times, impair cognitive performance, and make it more difficult for drivers to keep a steady position in their lane.

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