State grant allows more officers on patrol for Labor Day weekend
by James Phillips
Sep 03, 2011 | 2131 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jasper police officer Joe Herron speaks to an area motorist during a traffic stop Friday afternoon. Jasper police will have extra officers patrolling during the Labor Day weekend. JPD will also be setting up roadblocks in some areas. Photo by: James Phillips
Jasper police officer Joe Herron speaks to an area motorist during a traffic stop Friday afternoon. Jasper police will have extra officers patrolling during the Labor Day weekend. JPD will also be setting up roadblocks in some areas. Photo by: James Phillips
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In an effort to keep local streets safe during the Labor Day weekend, the Jasper Police Department will set up road blocks and have extra officers patrolling through Tuesday morning.

JPD Captain Dennis Corbell said a traffic safety grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs funds the salaries for the extra officers on patrol. He said Jasper police held a saturation patrol last Saturday as a way to jump start the holiday weekend.

“When we do something like this, it is to make it to improve safety and also gives us a chance to have more officers out that can help motorists,” he said. “If people break down or get lost, we’ve got more people out there and can get them back to where they are trying to go.”

Police Chief Connie Cooner Rowe said the number of violations reported during increased patrols can be helpful information for police.

“It’s the responsibility of a law enforcement agency to be aware of the trends in traffic safety issues and to apply those statistical findings to our efforts toward public safety,” she said.

During the 10-hour increased patrols last Saturday, Corbell said six extra officers and one extra dispatcher were on duty. The officers wrote a total of 212 tickets, with 118 of those being warnings. He said officers also assisted three motorists who were lost.

Corbell said the majority of the tickets were written for excessive speed, equipment violations or failure to show current proof of insurance.

“The driver of a car is responsible for having a current proof of insurance, their driver’s license and current registration in the vehicle at all times,” Corbell said. “Even if they are driving someone else’s car, it is the driver’s responsibility.”

Drivers are also responsible for anyone in the front seat of a vehicle being buckled up, Corbell said. However, if a passenger is 18 or older, that person can be ticketed for not wearing a seat belt.

“Most people don’t know that the driver gets the ticket if the passenger is under 18, but the passenger gets the ticket if they are older than 18,” he said.

During last weekend’s operation, Corbell said no arrests were made.

“We didn’t have any DUIs or any arrests for that matter,” he said. “I hope this weekend will be just the same. Our objective is to keep the roads safe.”

Rowe said the increased emphasis this weekend may be disliked by some citizens but the added safety outweighs any possible inconvenience.

“While many motorists view road blocks and concentrated traffic enforcement operations as inconvenient, if we save the life of one of our citizens as a result of conducting them, then we’ve done what we take an oath to do — serve and protect.”