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Law enforcement sees quiet 4th weekend

Area law enforcement officials are reporting a quiet Fourth ofJuly weekend overall, with no fatal accidents in LincolnCounty.

Mississippi Highway Patrol Public Affairs Officer Sgt. RustyBoyd said Troop M had a characteristically uneventful holiday,which he credited in part to the usual increased visibility on theroads. He said there were as many as nine additional troopers onthe road in the district each day between July 3-6.

“Then of course, we had our regular line patrols and driverslicense checkpoints every day, as well,” he said.

Troop M made 24 arrests for driving under the influence, as well asfive drug arrests and one for public drunkenness.

Also particularly successful, Boyd said, was the enforcement on newseat belt laws that went into effect on July 1. Twenty-five ticketswere written by Troop M troopers for seat belt violations, andanother 31 were written for child restraint violations.

But many more than that were simply warnings to remind motorists ofthe new law, Boyd said.

“Most of them were educating more than citing, just to get peopleused to the law being there,” he said.

There were 10 accidents in Troop M’s jurisdiction, two of whichwere alcohol-related, with seven injuries. None of them includedfatalities, however, Boyd said.

Boyd said Troop M’s holiday fatality count is often lower thanother jurisdictions because it includes more rural areas, asopposed to the troops that have to cover districts with largecities.

“Other than just a lot of enforcement on the roads, and luck, it’sjust us not being as populated,” Boyd said. “We’re more rural thana lot of districts, and we don’t have nearly the people or trafficas places like the coast, or Jackson or even Meridian.”

Meanwhile, Brookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson said his officerswere busy over the three-day weekend chasing fireworks calls. Hesaid the fireworks issue is a big one for his department becauseofficers spend a considerable amount of time enforcing the city’sordinance that fireworks are not to be shot in the city.

“Anytime fireworks are being sold in the city or the county, we’regoing to have people shooting them, and we’re going to get thesecalls,” he said.

Henderson said his officers didn’t deviate a lot from their normalpatrol otherwise, but that they had their hands full with thefireworks calls since a number of those calls come in from peoplewho believe they are actually gunshots. Because of the chance thatthey are, Henderson, every call has to be checked out.

“It just spreads you out everywhere,” he said. “You have to makesure that they are fireworks and not gunshots. The average citizen,sometimes they hear the noise and automatically assume it’sgunshots.”

Henderson said his department will probably have several more daysof fireworks calls until people have used them all.

Other than fireworks, Henderson said the weekend was a peaceful onefor most of the citizens of Brookhaven.

“It looked like an average weekend for the most part,” he said.”People were celebrating, but they were mostly peaceful andenjoying themselves. They did a lot of cooking.”

Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing said his officers did not markany notable deviation from the usual either.

“Overall it was a pretty good weekend for our guys,” he said. “Wereally didn’t have anything besides the norm for the weekend.”

Rushing said he did have a few roadblocks set up, but that therewas no noticeable increase in DUIs or other drug- oralcohol-related charges.

“Of course my officers were out in force for the weekend, and weset up a couple of roadblocks in different areas,” he said. “MostlyI think what helped was their just being seen.”