Law enforcement adds Labor Day weekend patrols

Posted: Sunday, September 05, 2004

Alaska State Troopers and police have extra officers on the roads during the Labor Day weekend patrolling for drunk drivers in an attempt to prevent accidents.

Calling its enforcement program Operation CARE Combined Accident Reduction Effort troopers are aggressively enforcing all traffic laws in order to reduce motor vehicle accidents and fatalities.

During the 2003 Labor Day weekend, 29 people were arrested for driving under the influence, 650 citations and warnings were issued to people speeding and 95 people were given tickets or warnings for seat belt and child restraint violations, according to troopers.

This year, additional troopers will be on the road with federally funded overtime under a grant from the Alaska Highway Safety Office, emphasizing sober driving, seat belt use, speeding and general safe driving.

Soldotna and Kenai police are increasing patrols over the weekend, as well.

In Soldotna, police have dedicated an additional 100 hours of duty, aimed at traffic safety and drinking and driving, according to Police Chief John Lucking Jr.

"We are planning the extra patrols to promote safe driving," Lucking said.

The department is not planning to set up any sober checkpoints.

"We've got extra officers scheduled at all hours, day and night," said Kenai Lt. Kim Wannamaker, adding that the focus is on impaired and intoxicated drivers.

"We want to keep the streets of Kenai safe and prevent accidents and injuries," he said. "We're encouraging people that if they drink, they should think before driving."

Col. Julia Grimes, director of troopers, said, "The Labor Day weekend is a traditionally high volume traffic weekend with fairs, carnivals, derbies and other special events across the state.

"As always, we are striving for voluntary compliance by Alaskan drivers and I urge you to drive responsibly, choose a designated driver if you plan to drink, and always buckle up," Grimes said.

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