Police increasing presence to curb holiday accidents

By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer

There will be an increased police presence this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, according to local agencies.

New Mexico State Police will be conducting sobriety checkpoints around the clock today through Saturday in every district of the state, according to State Police Capt. Oscar Gonzales.

Eight to 10 officers will monitor each checkpoint and work saturation patrols to curb driver’s attempting to “skirt around check points,” Gonzales said.

Clovis Police will also have checkpoints and increase patrols to make sure drivers are sober and passengers are buckled up, Clovis Police Deputy Chief Dan Blair said.

The Clovis Sheriff’s Office has two saturation patrols focused on finding DWI offenders scheduled, according to Undersheriff Doug Bowman. The patrols will likely be during evening hours, Bowman said.

The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Department will conduct a saturation patrol on Saturday, said Capt. Rick Short of the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Department.

Funded by federal grants checkpoint and saturation efforts will not reduce the number of officers working other beats, Gonzales and Blair said.

Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Deputy overtime hours will be funded through a DWI state grant, Short said.

“Over the holidays, because of increased motor traffic, there’s a higher propensity for crashes,” Gonzales said.

There was an 11 percent increase in the number of car crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday between 2003 and 2004, according to a release from AAA New Mexico.

Tony Parra of Freedom Newspapers contributed to this report.

Safety tips
• If drinking, find a sober driver, cab or towing service. Don’t drink and drive
• Buckle up
• Be alert for slow-downs and red lights by focusing vision further down the road
• Carpool or use public transit if possible
• Start trips early in day-light hours
• Properly inflate tires and align wheels
• Don’t speed up when a truck is passing
• Use proper parking areas when pulling off the road
• Break early, the heavier a vehicle is the longer it will take to stop