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Police will patrol roads tonight

December 31, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

TRI-STATE - As New Year's Eve festivities get under way around the Tri-State area tonight, law enforcement officers in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia have some advice for revelers - don't drink and drive because police will be out in force.

Sgt. Tim Baker of the Washington County Sheriff's Department took that suggestion one step further.

"Either stay home and celebrate or go someplace where you can stay the night," Baker said.

Extra deputies will be patrolling county roads from tonight at 8 until 4 a.m. on New Year's Day for those who don't take that advice, Baker said.

"We want those people to stay off the streets," he said.

The overtime DWI enforcement patrols are financed with grant money administered through the Washington County Health Department, Baker said.

Sgt. D.W. Kloos of Maryland State Police in Hagerstown said extra troopers will be out today and New Year's Day - two holidays in which alcohol often plays a major role in celebrating.

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"We will be concentrating on the interstates and major highways," Kloos said.

Motorists should also be aware that seat belt enforcement will be a big concern during those patrols, which are geared toward promoting safety on the road, Kloos said.

"Our roving DUI patrols will be out on the major highways and interstates," said Cpl. R.K. Marshall of Pennsylvania State Police in Chambersburg, Pa.

Marshall said there also will be more troopers on regular patrol during the peak holiday hours.

He said the best advice he can give people is to stay home and celebrate.

"We will also have more people working, concentrating on traffic, but there will be attention paid to seat belt enforcement and other activities, too," said Sgt. Dave Long of Hagerstown City Police.

In the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, vigilance and safety will be top priorities for all state troopers on the holiday, especially those working the roads.

"We always increase our patrols on the holidays and there will be extra troopers out on New Year's Eve," said Sgt. C.C. Morton of the West Virginia State Police barrack in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Two days before the holiday, another type of reveler often associated with New Year's Eve kept Hagerstown City Police busy for a number of hours Sunday night.

Repeated calls reporting gunshots being fired were checked out - on the Potomac Street parking deck, along East Franklin Street, in Noland Village and along Dual Highway.

All turned out to be fireworks, police said.

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