Pennsylvania State Police cites DUIs as a top crime in Chester County

People reside in Chester County for its beauty and its safety. Violent crime is rare here, overall.

Numerous local police departments as well as troopers from the Pennsylvania State Police serve and protect the county.

Trooper James Grothey is the community service officer and public information officer for the Troop J barracks of the Pennsylvania State Police in London Grove, which has a substation in Embreeville, Newlin Township. He also serves the public in this role in York County.

The station commander, who oversees the state police in both York and Chester counties, is Lt. Daniel Steele. He grew up in the City of Coatesville.

Avondale barracks is home to 40 troopers on the patrol unit with about eight troopers serving each shift. There are 25 to 30 troopers on the patrol unit at Embreeville with typically six troopers on per shift, Grothey said in a recent interview.

DUI checkpoints are an important tool used by police to catch intoxicated drivers. (MediaNews Group File Photo)

Last year, there were 2,300 vehicular crashes reported between two stations, Grothey said, and just under 200 DUI arrests — 195 to be exact.

Three crashes were determined to be DUI fatal, he said.

Of the three fatal DUI crashes between the Avondale and Embreeville stations, in one incident, the intoxicated person was killed, Grothey said. In the other two crashes, the intoxicated person lived and the person who was killed was an operator or passenger in another vehicle.

During the Covid-19 shutdown in 2020, DUI checkpoints slowed down. Last year the Pennsylvania State Police conducted six checkpoints in Chester County.

For the Avondale Barracks, the first checkpoint took place on May 27 resulting in 10 DUI arrests and one drug arrest.

Grothey said checkpoints typically occur between 11 p.m. and 2 p.m.

The second checkpoint took place on August 19 resulting in five DUI arrests.

The final checkpoint occurred on September 10 resulting in nine DUI arrests.

For Embreeville, the station conducted a checkpoint on July 30 resulting in 12 DUI arrests and two drug arrests plus 22 other citations; the Sept. 3 checkpoint resulted in 10 DUI arrests and one drug arrest plus eight citations and two warrants served, and the Sept. 23 checkpoint resulted in seven DUI arrests.

Grothey said state law enforcement in Pennsylvania is looking to increase checkpoints in the future moving forward following a decrease in events during the last few years since 2020.

Grothey said that the Pennsylvania State Police works hand-in-hand with local law enforcement agencies and emergency squads. He especially lauded the work of volunteer firefighters serving the community.

Indeed, for the safety of all when disaster strikes, intergovernmental cooperation is key.

And while crime is low in Chester County, incidents — from theft to domestic abuse and even murder — do occur.

“Safety-wise, never be afraid to report suspicious activity to the police,” Grothey said. “Never be afraid to call the police.”

Grothey encouraged people to build a bond with their neighbors.

“Being respectful of your neighbors,” Grothey said. “You never know what they are going through.”

Sometimes family and friends may travel and not be nearby, he noted.

“Your neighbors are always going to be beside you,” Grothey said.

“Chester County has long enjoyed some of the highest quality law enforcement in Pennsylvania,” said Chester County Commissioner Josh Maxwell.

“Every day,” he said, “we are thankful to our neighbors in uniform who keep us safe day in and day out.”

“I am always amazed and thankful for the care and commitment of our law enforcement community in Chester County,” said Marian Moskowitz, chairwoman of the Chester County Board of Commissioners. “They continue to make me proud every day.”

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