More officers tapped for extended patrols
By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on July 1, 2010 1:46 PM
The Wayne County Highway Patrol plans dramatic increases in patrol strength for the Fourth of July weekend, while local police agencies also are making special preparations for the holiday.
Highway Patrol First Sgt. Jerry Burton said that "line patrols," which are conducted by troopers who drive up and down the same roadway, will be one way the department will prepare.
"We're going to conduct line patrols on all the major roadways. We're going to have checking stations on rural paved roads and we're going to have as many of the troopers as we can possibly get for the county," Burton said today.
Burton said that in preparation for the heavy travel weekend, the patrol's schedule has been turned on its ear.
"All the troopers that are assigned to Wayne County, we're changing the schedule to have as many working as possible," the first sergeant said. "We're going to use them (troopers) the best way that we can."
The "best way" includes covering such heavily traveled roads as U.S. 70, U.S. 117 and Interstate 795, Burton said.
"They're so heavily traveled during the holiday times that we want to put more emphasis on those roadways," he said.
Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders said he expects the usual number of deputies to be on duty for the weekend, but he added that they have been given special training on how to deal with typical Fourth of July calls.
"As usual, on the holiday, we do get a lot of fireworks calls. It is very hard to answer those calls from one end of the county to the other, and of course fireworks don't last but a few seconds," Winders said.
For that reason, the sheriff asked that callers use discretion when reporting fireworks.
"We ask people to consider that when they're calling 911 -- they're calling and saying there are some fireworks over here, and the deputy might be 10 minutes away. By the time he gets there, everything (is) gone, of course."
Police Chief Tim Bell said this morning that the Goldsboro Police Department would also be performing expanded patrols.
Capt. J.J. Biggins said the additional patrols would be part of the Governor's Highway Safety Program's "Booze It & Lose It," campaign, which actually started on June 28.
"The Booze It and Lose It campaign will end on the fifth (of July)," Biggins said. "So there will be various stations set up around the county, and the patrols are going to get beefed up for the fireworks demonstration on Saturday."
Burton said that in addition to patrolling the county, special events like fireworks would also be covered.
"The fireworks, the ones they have (at the Berkeley Mall), we'll ride along U.S. 70 and make sure that cars are not parked in the median."