According to Ocean Springs Police Chief Lionel Cothern, Ocean Springs has recently received a grant from the Mississippi Governor's Highway Safety Program that will be used to help fund the town's DUI program.
"We have a mandate, on holidays especially, of things we have to work on such as going out and setting up road blocks and doing DUI detail," Cothern said.
In 2011 there were 7,881 DUI arrests and 286 fatal accidents where the driver had a BAC of 0.08% or above in Mississippi according to dui-usa.drinkdriving.org.
It's not just the citizens who are taking notice, it's the bars and restaurants of downtown Ocean Springs as well.
Auturo Barajas, owner of Mosaics Tapas Bar and The Beer House, said,"We have a no tolerance policy for people that have over-served, selling them more alcohol doesn't help us. We cut them off and sit them somewhere they won't bother anybody or put them in a taxi."
Cothern explains that because of the recent growth of the casino industry on the coast, people driving while intoxicated has become a bigger problem than it used to be.
According to dui-usa.drinkdriving. org, penalties for receiving a DUI in Mississippi include your license being suspended for no less than 90 days and possibly up to a year and paying a fine between $250 and $1000. You could also possibly spend up to 48 hours in jail.
A noted local lawyer who represents many of the bars and restaurants in Ocean Springs said, "All of the bars and restaurants in Ocean Springs do a great job of training their servers and bartenders to identify people who appear to be getting intoxicated and cutting them off. I don't think this will be a big problem in Ocean Springs because of our responsible bar and restaurant owners." On June 17th through the 21st, Chief Cothern recently attended the Chief's Association Convention at the IP Resort and Casino which presented many of the new technology being used on issues such as DUIs.
Police chiefs are mandated to have at least 24 hours of training each year to maintain their position.
"The FBI came in and gave updates on criminal law and the Attorney General came and gave us the updates on state law," Cothern said.
The convention takes place twice a year, once in the summer and once in the winter.