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Waite Park Police Chief Proud of Driver Diversion Program

Waite Park Police Chief Dave Bentrud
Waite Park Police Chief Dave Bentrud

WAITE PARK — A new report from the state auditor says local governments should not be allowed to offer driver diversion programs. It gives motorists an option to pay the traffic ticket or pay a smaller fee and sit through a safe driving class.

Waite Park Police is the only agency in the St. Cloud area to offer the program.

Chief Dave Bentrud strongly believes cities should be able to offer such options to drivers who have a clean record. Bentrud says he’s very proud of their “Drive Smart” program.  They offer very good information and receive very good reviews.

Chief Bentrud says over the years, officers were hesitant to write tickets to drivers with clean records because of the high financial penalty. Now, officers are writing more citations and are giving the driver’s with cleaner records the choice to pay or take the class.

Bentrud says it’s a win-win situation because they are writing more citations, the city gets a small revenue bump, drivers don’t see the impact on their driving record and drivers get some driving re-education.

State Auditor Rebecca Otto says there nothing in state law authorizing local governments to set their own driving laws.

Bentrud says he is reviewing the auditor’s report and hopes to continue the program.

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