Authorities step up patrols over holiday

Published 8:13 pm Friday, June 30, 2017

The Fourth of July is one of America’s more endearing holidays.

The celebration of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress and the eventual breaking away from the shadow of Great Britain is marked with music, parades, bands, picnics and barbeques and fireworks.

And the warm summer weather means people will take to the highways to travel to vacations spots like the beach or the mountains, or to relatives to celebrate to holiday. And there is another element to the celebration that some people believe is a necessity — alcohol.

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Regardless of its form — beer, wine or liquor — alcohol and cars are a combination that can result in tragedy at anytime, but especially during the holidays. And the Vicksburg Police Department and the Warren Count Sheriff’s Office are taking extra steps to crack down and enforce the state’s laws against drunk or impaired driving.

“We will be doing saturation patrols during the holidays,” Police Chief Walter Armstrong said. “We’re going to have extra officers out on the roads looking for drunk and impaired drivers, and enforcing other traffic violations.”

That includes the state’s amended seat belt law that takes effect Saturday, and requires everyone in the car to be buckled up.

Sheriff Martin Pace said he will have extra deputies on the road during the holiday enforcing the DUI and traffic laws. He said he will also have deputies patrolling major waterways.

“We will have deputies in boats in the (Yazoo) diversion canal for the fireworks in Vicksburg Tuesday, and there will also be officers with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, and they will also be patrolling other areas along the (Mississippi) river.”

Deputies will also be on the water at Eagle Lake, he said.

“We’re asking people if they’re going to be on the water not to consume alcohol and to take the proper safety precautions, like making sure everyone on the boat has a personal floatation device.”

Armstrong and Pace also remind people if they are going to consume alcohol to have a designated driver or call a taxi.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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