An "enforcement blitz" is being conducted across Arkansas by the Arkansas State Police, in conjunction with a national campaign entitled: "Drunk Driving. Over The Limit. Under Arrest."
State and local law enforcement will join more than 12,000 law enforcement agencies across the country from Aug. 21 through Sept. 7 in an effort to control drinking over the Labor Day holiday and then driving, said Mike Foster, acting commander of Troop I.
Troop I oversees Boone, Newton, Searcy, Marion, Baxter, Izard, Stone and Fulton counties, including the influx of canoeing and tourism on the portion of the Spring River within Fulton County.
"Police will concentrate on drunk drivers by doing sobriety check points and saturated patrol, bringing several troopers into one particular area," Foster said. Troop I will focus around areas of recreation where drinking and driving are prevalent.
"We want folks to be able to get out on the highway safely and sober," Foster said. "The bottom line is we are trying to reduce accidents and save lives." The potential for tragedy is much greater during times when there is more traffic on the roads.
If these kinds of campaigns are not created and carried out then the consequences are worse than the repercussions of those who do drink and drive.
"Possibly, if they are not afraid of being apprehended we may have at tendency to have more occurrences of that nature," Foster said.
All law enforcement in the state will be up to the task, working harder on the holiday to keep everyone safe.
"All the officers will be out, the troopers will be out, too," said Walter Dillinger, Fulton County Sheriff. The sheriff's department will be waiting in the wings to help out wherever they are needed, he said. They will assist the State Troopers by conducting sobriety tests on drivers apprehended, suspected of drunk driving.
Dillinger plans to have officers assist at sobriety checkpoints, he said. Dillinger suggested that people drinking over the weekend need to plan to stay the night where they are. "They don't need to get out on the road," he said. "Stay right there and don't start any problems."
The Labor Day holiday is one to relax and enjoy the company of friends and family at the wind down of the season, not to make bad judgment calls.
"Memorial Day weekend in our worst," Dillinger said. "Most usually (Labor Day) isn't that bad, but we'll find out."