The Wilson County Sheriff's Office and Lebanon Police Department want folks to have a happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend. That is why both agencies are taking extra precautions on land and lake beginning Friday, May 27th.
Lt. Steve Gatlin with the WCSO was busy Tuesday morning getting their patrol boat ready. The boat was grant-funded and custom-built in Panama City, coming to the department in January 2012.
Gatlin said the boat patrol will be out every weekend from Memorial Day through Labor Day to make sure boaters are following the rules.
"We are commissioned by TWRA to write tickets, but the Sheriff's main goal is safety," he said. "We are going to be out just talking to people about wearing life jackets and doing what is necessary to be safe."
Some of these rules are having a life jacket on the boat for every person and making sure those 13-years-old and younger are wearing their lifejackets at all times in open areas of the boat.
Another issue is people getting hot and dehydrated.
"We've had incidences where people get dehydrated from drinking alcohol out in the sun all day," Gatlin said. "For the most part we don't have a problem. People care about the lake and what is going on. We encourage people to do the right thing and have a good time."
LPD plans to conduct "impaired driver counter-measures" on Friday, including a DUI checkpoint on Highway 70 in Lebanon and patrol saturation.
According to a news release issued by the department this week, extra patrol units will monitor for DUIs while enforcing traffic violations and other offenses.
"The deterrent effect of these saturations is a proven resource in reducing the number of persons killed or injured in alcohol- or drug-related crashes," the news release read. "Officers will be observing drivers for signs of impairment. Those that may consider drinking or using drugs that impair their ability to drive should think about the potential consequences before they get behind the wheel."
A DUI conviction carries jail time, heavy fines, loss of driving privileges and a criminal record.
Funding for the alcohol counter-measures has been made possible through a grant from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office.