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Police to step up patrols for holiday

June 30, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

Area law-enforcement agencies will step up patrols this weekend in anticipation of the Fourth of July holiday, officials said Thursday.

The Maryland Natural Resources Police, Maryland State Police in Hagerstown, Washington County Sheriff's Department and Hagerstown Police Department all plan to increase patrols, according to department spokesmen and a press release.

On Thursday night, Hagers- town Police Sgt. Paul Kifer said 15 extra officers were working in teams to patrol the streets, as part of a grant.

"We have 15 officers in unmarked cars hitting various parts of town," Kifer said.

The $50,000 grant expires today, but Kifer said a new grant will pay for extra patrols periodically throughout the summer.

According to a press release, AAA predicts 40.7 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home over the holiday period, a 1.2 percent increase over last year.

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Sgt. Daniel Faith said the sheriff's department will put one extra deputy on the roads today, Saturday and Sunday.

"It's an extra deputy," Faith said. "His only responsibility is going to be watching out for aggressive driving, DUIs and other alcohol-related violations."

Whether driving or boating, holiday revelers should be careful, according to Natural Resources Police.

The department will target boaters operating recklessly or under the influence, according to a press release. The department also will target underage people using alcohol and people shooting off illegal fireworks, according to the release.

Boaters should operate within their abilities and respect the capabilities of their vessels, according to the release. They always should wear life jackets and avoid operating their vessels after drinking alcohol, according to police.

Of the 207 boating accidents reported statewide last year, 70 occurred in July, Natural Resources Police said.

Kifer said while the Hagerstown Police Department has worked to deter people from driving while intoxicated, the holiday weekend always puts more motorists on the roads.

"There's always going to be people out there drinking and driving, and that's why you put people out to enforce those things," Kifer said.

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