With the holiday season on the up, local law enforcement officials have also upped their presence in an effort to curb drunk driving.
Over the weekend, Lebanon and Mt. Juliet police, along with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Department, all increased their saturation patrols and plan to continue to do so through the new year.
The Lebanon Police Department conducted high-visibility impaired driver counter-measures over the weekend with a checkpoint on Hwy 70 Friday night and additional saturation patrols. Lebanon police monitored for DUIs while also enforcing traffic violations along with other offenses.
Lebanon police Chief Scott Bowen said they would also have extra people out on New Year’s Eve.
“We’ll obviously have extra people working tomorrow night for New Year’s Eve,” Bowen said. “But with the holiday falling in the middle of the week, we did checkpoints on the weekend too because more people tend to be out and about then.”
Bowen said their main function New Year’s Eve would be looking for and preventing impaired driving.
“Hopefully with programs like Sober Ride, our hope is that people will take advantage of that instead of driving themselves,” Bowen said. “It’s a lot cheaper of a ride than a ride to jail with us. Or even the chance of injuring or killing yourself or others.”
Mt. Juliet Police Department officers were also out in full force Friday, with sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols conducted at Lebanon Road, Mt. Juliet Road, West Division Street and Belinda Parkway.
Mt. Juliet police spokesperson Tyler Chandler said Friday night’s checkpoint seemed to be “productive.”
According to Chandler, four people were charged with drug offenses Friday night.
“The goal was to find people that were intoxicated, but people drove through the checkpoints with marijuana reeking from their cars, which led to cars being searched and drugs being found,” Chandler said. “There were no DUIs, but it was still very productive.”
Mt. Juliet police also plan to assist Tennessee Highway Patrol in a multi-agency effort to curb drinking and driving on New Year’s Eve, said Chandler.
“We’ll be sending officers to assist them in their ‘No Refusal’ campaign,” Chandler said.
The Wilson County Sheriff’s Department also is set to participate in the campaign.
Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott recently announced plans for a “No Refusal” enforcement campaign over the New Year’s Eve holiday that will begin at 6 p.m. Monday and conclude at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.
The “No Refusal” enforcement is set to take place in one county in each of the eight THP districts across Tennessee with the hopes of preventing drinking and driving and reducing fatal crashes on state roadways. The “No Refusal” legislation allows law enforcement officials to seek search warrants for blood samples in cases involving suspected impaired drivers.
“Our goal is simple,” said Mt. Juliet police Chief James Hambrick. “We want to remove those driving under the influence from the street before they impact others.”