From Warren County High School’s senior prom to adults reliving the nostalgic days of riding The Strip, McMinnville Police Department will be there conducting a saturation patrol.
According to Police Lt. Mark Mara, the extra patrol on prom night went well and another is planned for Back to the Strip Night this Saturday.
“The saturated patrol on prom weekend went really well from our part,” said Mara. “The biggest thing is we didn’t have any DUI-related accidents while we were doing the saturated patrol. We had four officers working it. We made 13 traffic stops and issued 10 tickets. Of those tickets, three were for careless driving and one was for child seat and a variety of other minor issues.”
One of the careless driving citations was a motorist conducting a burnout – the practice of keeping a vehicle stationary and spinning its wheels, causing the tires to heat up and smoke due to friction – an activity that’s illegal.
The next saturation patrol will be this Saturday during Back to the Strip 2016. An annual event, it attracts a large crowd of people interested in cruising The Strip and socializing. It begins around 5 p.m. and has no set ending time.
“When we have that many people out on the road in a concentrated area, we have to do something,” said Mara. “We want everyone to be safe while they have fun.”
During the saturation patrols, the department always has a DUI prosecutor on standby to secure blood search warrants for anyone who refuses to submit to testing, such as field sobriety testing or a blood draw to determine blood alcohol level. Also on standby is a drug recognition expert to help determine what substance the individual took that created the impairment.
“I don’t think the DUI prosecutor or the DRE receive enough credit for what they do,” said Mara. “When we say they are on standby during our saturation patrols, they are on standby. They’re waiting for us to call and they’ll be here within a few minutes. It’s very important we have them, if needed.”
McMinnville Police Department’s saturation operation is called “Be A Survivor: Get A Designated Driver” and receives funding from the Tennessee Governor’s Highway Safety Office to help pay the expense of extra officers.