In full force

Published 10:50 pm Friday, August 31, 2007

NATCHEZ — For many, Labor Day weekend means food and fun, but local law enforcement will step up efforts to make sure that fun isn’t spoiled.

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office plans to set up roadblocks throughout the county during the holiday weekend.

“We want to stop people from drinking and driving,” Sheriff Ronny Brown said. “While we’re doing that, we’ll also be checking for tags and insurance.”

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The Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office also plans to heighten patrols from Friday until late Monday night.

“This is the last big holiday that folks will be enjoying during the summer,” Sheriff Randy Maxwell said. “We want everyone to celebrate safely and we really want them to be aware that our officers will be out in force to make it safe.”

The CPSO will also monitor activity on parish lakes with patrol boats.

The patrol boats will keep an eye on those operating boats or jet skis for safety violations, especially excessive speed and alcohol consumption, CPSO Public Information Officer Kathleen Stevens said.

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office will likely continue the roadblocks next weekend, too, Brown said.

As long as drivers are following the law, the roadblocks shouldn’t hinder their good time, he said.

“People should make sure they’ve got all their paperwork in their vehicles,” Brown said. “They need to make sure if they’re drinking, they’ve got a designated driver, and they shouldn’t have problems with roadblocks.”

Anyone caught driving under the influence will be arrested, he said.

From 1997 to 2006, 130 people in Adams County died in a crash involving a driver with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.

Within the city limits, Natchez Police usually run into few problems on Labor Day, but they’ll be working to keep it that way, Police Chief Mike Mullins said.

“Officers will be more alert to drunk drivers and seat belt use, especially child restraint,” Mullins said.

Drivers should also make sure to leave plenty of distance between their car and the vehicle in front of them, he said.

“It’s time to address drinking and driving as a serious issue that costs our nation millions of dollars each year in lost time, lost property and most importantly, lost lives,” Maxwell said. “The greatest tragedy is that deaths due to impaired driving-related crashes are preventable — these are not accidents.”