By Ryn Gargulinski: CNJ staff writer
Clovis will celebrate the Fourth of July with red, white — and a lot of extra blue — with local police on full alert, said Sgt. James Schoeffel of the Clovis Police Department.
“No officer that I know of has the day off,” said Schoeffel of Monday, explaining the only officers that won’t be on the streets are those still in training.
The Clovis Fire Department, Curry County Sheriff’s Office and New Mexico State Police are also prepared for a busy weekend.
“We’ve had several brush fires this past week and we anticipate several more,” Clovis fire prevention officer Karen Burns said.
“People need to be aware of how dry it is,” Burns said. “It is dry and it is going to be hazardous out there.”
Conditions are so dry the New Mexico Forestry Division issued fire restrictions through much of the New Mexico as of Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.
Burns said the Clovis Fire Department has been called to 15 grass fires in the last 11 days.
Although Burns said that count may be higher than last year, she also points out there has been a lot less rain than last year.
Not only does Burns issue warnings for those shooting off fireworks, but also to parents.
“I tell the parents ‘Beware,’” she said. “‘If it (the source of the fire) can be traced back to an individual under 18 years of age, it can be traced back to you. Keep an eye on what your children are doing and buying — all damage incurred will be the responsibility of the parents.’”
Fires are not the only problem encountered during the July 4th weekend.
Schoeffel said fights and drunken driving usually come with the holiday territory.
“With alcohol and the holidays, people sometimes forget safety,” said Schoeffel, adding Clovis police will conduct DWI saturation patrol during the holiday weekend.
“Our goal is to get enough people out there so they handle any problems that may arise,” said Schoeffel.
Sgt. John Salas of the New Mexico State Police concurred.
“It is one of the busiest times of the year,” he said. “We have gone ahead and taken care of some roadblocks, as well as saturation patrols with more manpower on the shift. Our concern right now is the DWI aspect of it.”