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Fewer drugs arrests, DUIs so far at rally

  • Updated
Geody VanDewater

Sturgis Police Chief Geody VanDewater walks down Main Street in Sturgis during the opening ceremony parade on Friday, Aug. 6.

Alcohol and drug violations are trending downward at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, according to Sturgis Police Chief Geody VanDewater.

VanDewater said misdemeanor drug charges can likely be attributed to the state's voter-approved marijuana laws even though they have yet to be implemented.

"We've taken a different stance on some of our misdemeanor drugs," he said.

Information from potential drug charges is sent to the Meade County State's Attorney's Office for review before charges are filed, VanDewater said. 

As of 6 a.m. Friday, the Sturgis Police Department recorded 128 misdemeanor drug possession charges at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which is down from 202 from last year's total at the same time. 

Felony drug charges totaled 96, down from 112 last year to date.  

Police officers have issued 99 driving under the influence charges, down from last year's to date total of 117. 

"It's hard to say, it might just be the differences in stops," VanDewater said of the decrease in drug and alcohol related charges.

"They might not be coming across it. Maybe people aren't consuming it as much, they might be hiding it better. It's still out there," he said.

VanDewater is cautiously optimistic that the trend will continue at the rally. 

"It's looking good so far," he said. 

Overall, VanDewater said the number of citations and arrests in all categories are less than last year.

As of Thursday, there have been 299 citations or arrests at the rally, which is down from last year's total of 398 at the same time. 

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