By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – As North Mississippians take to the roads for Memorial Day Weekend, law enforcement will have an increased patrol and DUI enforcement presence.
In 2012, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety reported no traffic fatalities on state and federal highways during the Memorial Day weekend while it made 246 DUI arrests and wrote 975 tickets for seat belt violations.
The absence of traffic-related fatalities was a stark and welcome contrast to the 2011 Memorial Day holiday when nine traffic-related deaths were reported on Mississippi’s state and federal highways.
This year the Mississippi Highway Patrol will have 252 additional troopers patrolling highways during the holiday period.
Trooper Jason Roe of Highway Patrol Troop F said 30 of those will be patrolling Northeast Mississippi highways.
Tupelo Police Maj. Jackie Clayton said they are going to utilize the Click It or Ticket program to add DUI and patrol enforcement during the holiday weekend.
“We have a DUI officer on every shift for four shifts,” he said. “This weekend, we’ll have all the DUI officers working in addition to four extra patrol officers.”
During the 2012 holiday, Highway Patrol Troopers in Troop F made 30 DUI arrests, investigated 20 collisions and three alcohol-related collisions, wrote 95 seat belt violation tickets and made five drug arrests.
“We see more drunk drivers during the holiday weekends,” Clayton said. “This weekend we’ll come out in full force for the safety of everyone, visitors as well as those who live here.”
Much of the added patrol costs will be paid by federal grants and the Click It or Ticket program.
The holiday enforcement period began at 6 p.m. Friday night and ends Monday at midnight.