Police expand patrols for holiday

June 30, 2005|by PEPPER BALLARD


Washington County police agencies plan to increase patrols this weekend, focusing on having enough officers at fireworks displays and on patrol to catch drunken drivers and fireworks violators.

Maryland State Police Lt. Greg Johnston, who oversees the Hagerstown barrack, said troopers from other parts of the state and more troopers from his barrack will work from Friday through Monday to help manage the volume of traffic over the weekend.

"We'll definitely have unmarked cars," he said.

Johnston said the traffic volume usually causes the most problems, but "aggressive driving and drunken driving causes problems."

Both Maryland State Police and the Washington County Sheriff's Department will have law enforcement officers Saturday at the Maryland Symphony Orchestra's Salute to Independence at Antietam National Battlefield to help manage traffic, he said.


Sheriff's Department Capt. Doug Mullendore said county police will have additional deputies on patrol throughout the weekend for evening and late-night shifts.

He said that no sobriety checkpoints are planned for the weekend through his department, but deputies will be on the lookout for drunken drivers.

Johnston said there will be sobriety checkpoints by state police throughout the state, but would not specify whether any will be conducted in Washington County.

"Really what we get inundated with are calls of people setting off fireworks," Mullendore said.

Hagerstown Police Department Capt. Charles Summers, the department's acting chief, said in a voice mail message that the department will have increased patrols this weekend, too.

Summers said that extra police officers will be on hand to work at Fairgrounds Park for its Fourth of July celebration.

Summers could not be reached for additional comment Wednesday afternoon.

Mullendore asked that residents "drive safely, leave plenty of room between vehicles and if they're going to drink, have someone else drive for them. And most of all, have fun."

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