State Patrol arresting more drivers for drugged driving

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin State Patrol says it saw more drugged drivers on the roads and had a significant increase in drug arrests from 2016 to 2017.

The State Patrol saw a 20 percent increase in drug arrests during that time period, with fewer than 2,900 arrests in 2016 compared to more than 3,400 last year, Wisconsin Public Radio reported . A drug arrest involves the possession of illegal narcotics or paraphernalia.

The State Patrol also saw an increase in people driving while under the influence of a controlled substance. There were more than 310 drugged driving arrests in 2016, compared to almost 390 last year.

The increase is partly due to better trained officers and marijuana legalization in other states, such as Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, and Ohio, said State Patrol Lt. Chris Joshka.

"That marijuana is bound to be moved through the state, and our officers are starting to see more of that," Joshka said. "So I certainly think that there's a rise in drug arrests based on the fact that marijuana has been legalized in some of these states and we're seeing it being transported to and from through Wisconsin."

More than 100 officers were trained in advanced highway criminal interdiction last year.

"I think this has a huge effect on our ability to identify people who are transporting illegal contraband," Joshka said.

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