Police looking for ‘losers’ this holiday weekend

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 30, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Have you seen the commercial where the police officers have set up a roadblock on the highway and they shine their lights in three unsuspecting males’ eyes to later find the men have been drinking, and they are arrested?

These commercials are part of a campaign through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to crack down on drinking and driving during the July 4 weekend.

And, as part of this national campaign &045; You Drink & Drive. You Lose. &045; Natchez police will be performing extra patrols during the holiday weekend and will have sobriety checkpoints. Because it is a holiday weekend, law enforcement agencies around the country expect more traffic.

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&uot;We always step up enforcement this time of year,&uot; Natchez Police Chief Mike Mullins said.

Angie Brown, director of records and communication for the Natchez Police Department said the focus in July and December is always on impaired drivers because of the holiday season.

This year’s campaign has a different name but the same purpose.

&uot;Officers have been advised to look out for impaired drivers,&uot; Brown said.

In 2002 42 percent of traffic fatalities were alcohol-related, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To raise awareness about the campaign, Congress has provided $11 million to run national advertisements &045; the first time the crackdown is supported by national advertising.

The national TV advertisements will run through July 13.

Natchez police also have done their own campaigning, recording a public service announcement to run on local radio stations.

&uot;Education is the key and that has to go hand in hand with enforcement,&uot; Brown said.

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office also will be on alert this weekend.

Adams County Sheriff Tommy Ferrell said his officers anticipate a busy weekend, but the Highway Patrol handles more driving incidents than the sheriff’s office does.

&uot;We’ll certainly be out in larger numbers,&uot; Ferrell said. &uot;But most of our extra work deals with domestic violence and family problems.&uot;

So while families travel, barbecue and watch fireworks, the law enforcement agencies of Adams County will be taking extra precautions this weekend.