Police out in force

Published 10:53 pm Saturday, May 23, 2009

NATCHEZ — Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer for many families.

And to celebrate the beginning of the season, many families will be hitting the road Monday.

But those cars traveling to and from family barbecues or area lakes won’t be the only cars on the road.

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Local law enforcement officials will also be out helping to ensure the safety of everyone traveling. Natchez Police Chief Mike Mullins said this holiday, like all others, will be busy for his staff.

“We do have more patrol out,” Mullins said. “It is normal routine for us on any holiday to put more of an emphasis on traffic patrol.”

Mullins encouraged all travelers to obey all traffic laws during the busy weekend of travel.

“Everyone needs to watch their speed and not drink and drive,” he said.

NPD officers won’t be the only uniforms hitting the streets for Memorial Day weekend. The Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol will also be more visible.

Highway Patrol troopers began their extra patrol Friday and will continue it until midnight Monday.

Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol Public Affairs Officer St. B.R. Boyd said in a release that an “additional 160 man hours” will be on the highway during the long holiday weekend.

The hours come in the form of off-duty troopers and dispatchers who work what would normally be an off day.

Like the NPD, the focus of the highway patrol’s increased presence on the roadways will be to remove dangerous and impaired drivers from the road.

“We will be paying close attention to the impaired drivers,” Boyd said in the statement. “The troopers will be performing roaming patrol in addition to drivers’ license checkpoints. These are valuable tools in the effort to promote safety on our highways.”

Mullins said Natchez has a good track record as far as holiday weekends go and he is hoping the extra patrol and emphasis will keep that record intact.

“Normally we make it through these holiday weekends without any major traffic accidents within the city limits, and we want to keep it that way this year.”