Area law officers out in force for holiday

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Day brings travels and vacation activities of allkinds, yet every year there are deaths both on the state’s watersystems and highways and interstates.

Local officials are urging safety in recreational activitiesover the Memorial Day holiday. Area law enforcement agencies haveplanned to be out in force all weekend on the state’s roads,highways, interstates and waterways.

“Please be safe when you drive,” said Mississippi Highway PatrolPublic Affairs Officer Rusty Boyd. “There’s going to be extratraffic, with people traveling and people going to the lakes andwhat have you.”

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Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing said his deputies will beon the road watching for speeders and that motorists should beaware of basic motor precautions such as seat belt safety.

“We definitely try to remind people to buckle up,” he said. “Allthe area agencies will be monitoring that closely.”

This is evidenced by the fact that there were 28 seatbeltcitations written by the Brookhaven Police Department in the cityof Brookhaven on Friday alone.

Boyd said to remember that motorists should be alert as well, asthere will probably be intoxicated drivers on the road in spite ofthe fact that Lincoln County is a dry county.

“Additional drivers mean possible additional intoxicateddrivers,” said Boyd. “Be patient as you drive and take time toobserve what’s around you.”

Last year there were four road deaths over the Memorial Dayweekend, and Boyd said the Highway Patrol would like to see numberseven lower than that this year. He said making good decisions onthe roadways is a must.

“Use good judgment,” he said. “Somebody’s life is not worthit.”

Good judgment also plays an important part in water safety, saysCapt. Jamie Cummins of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife,Fisheries and Parks.

“On the lakes, you’ll definitely want to stay in the swimmingareas and have a buddy system, so if someone goes down, someoneelse notices,” he said. “Obviously, if there are children around,you’ll also need a parent or supervisor on board the boat or on theshore.”

Cummins said boaters on area lakes are asked to follow certainimportant guidelines, such as having life jackets for each personon board the boat. He said in addition to that, state lakes havelaws for how to go about water skiing as well.

“Ski counter-clockwise,” he said. “On our state lakes, all theboats have to go counter-clockwise. Also, there should be anobserver whose job is to do nothing but watch the skier.”

Cummins said his conservation officers will be assigned to bemonitoring all the area bodies of water and will be pulling overand ticketing any violators.

He also asked that Memorial Day revelers respect others on thelakes and in the parks by keeping the music down to a reasonablevolume.

“People go out to the lake to have a peaceful time,” hesaid.