Good times weren’t the only thing in high gear Saturday during Back to the Strip Night.
A total of 81 citations were issued to 56 people by city, county and state law enforcement officers.
“More than half of the citations that were issued were for seatbelt violations,” said McMinnville Police Chief Bryan Denton. “I don’t really understand that. It kind of surprised me. I was actually asked why we didn’t warn people that we would be looking for seatbelts. It’s a state highway, even when you are going 5 mph.”
Denton warned participants in advance the Police Department’s theme for this year’s event would be, “If it’s illegal on Friday night, it’s still illegal on Saturday night.”
“For the last three years, I’ve made public pleas for people to police themselves,” Denton added. “This year, two months out, I started getting the word out there would be a greater police presence at this year’s event. There was an article in the Standard. I went to local television, to the radio and I used social media. I did my best to warn people this was coming. Having said that, I think the tone for the event was set early, which was a good thing.”
Of the 81 citations written by McMinnville Police Department, Warren County Sheriff’s Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol, 45 were for seatbelt violations. Rounding out the remaining citations: 15 for no insurance, six for registration, five for careless driving/ due care, four for speeding, three for child restraint, one for no driver license, one for window tint, and one for following too close which resulted in an accident.
Event organizers were pleased Monday morning when Denton contacted them.
“I talked with event organizers this morning and they were pleased with the way things went,” Denton said. “They want to handle it the same way next year."
Denton says the department is happy with Saturday night, but realizes some individuals may not be.
“We are pleased with the way it went,” Denton said. “We realize there are some who are not pleased, but our goal was to make it a safe event. The folks I’ve talked to are happy. In talking to two or three of the business owners, they didn’t have the damage to property like they had last year. For those that are not happy I’m sorry, but if you are going to have vehicles with 400 horsepower around pedestrians, we are going to do our best to make sure it’s safe.”
No arrests were made.