McMinnville Police Department will be out in force on New Year’s weekend.
“New Year’s weekend is the biggest weekend we have for law enforcement because we’re trying to reduce accidents associated with driving intoxicated,” said Lt. Mark Mara. “In order to get that accomplished, we have to get some saturated patrols going. We will have saturated patrols from New Year’s Eve all the way through the end of the weekend. We have a lot of officers coming in to work. That weekend is not the weekend to be impaired.”
Mara says the department is sending a clear message – get a designated driver or else.
“Get a designated driver or face the consequences,” said Mara. “We can’t stand to see this tragic loss of life again and again. This weekend, we are trying to focus on it. The hardest part of our job is to notify a family member that someone died and it was a tragic loss that could have been preventable. That’s difficult for us so we are going to show zero tolerance that weekend, just like we do every time. We aren’t going to find you a ride. We aren’t going to get someone to come pick you up. You can do that when you get to jail. You can find a ride before, or you can find a ride after you’ve been charged.”
The department will have a DUI prosecutor on standby with 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 will be an officer trained as a drug recognition expert.
“If you are driving and impaired because of drugs, we will be looking for you as well,” said Mara. “Driving under the influence isn’t just alcohol. It’s any substance that can impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle. Driving under the influence of drugs, including prescription medications as well as illegal drugs, can also result in DUI charges.”
Saturation patrols are designed to make highways safer and to increase public awareness of the haz-ards of drinking and driving. The idea behind announcing saturated patrols in advance is to prevent impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel in the first place as opposed to catching them on the road.
Everyone can help make the streets safer. If you see a vehicle operated in an unsafe manner, call 668-7000 or 911.
McMinnville Police Department’s saturation operation is called “Be A Survivor: Get A Designated Driv-er” and receives funding from the Tennessee Governor’s Highway Safety Office to help pay the ex-pense of saturation patrols.