Saturation patrol yields four arrests, 25 traffic citations

Friday, July 24, 2015

In an effort to keep Putnam County just a little bit safer, Putnam County Sheriff's Department deputies took to the roads last weekend for an operating while intoxicated saturation patrol.

From 8 p.m. Friday, July 17 through 4 a.m. Saturday, and again from 8 p.m. Saturday through 4 a.m. Sunday, eight to nine officers were on the road at any given time, looking specifically for OWIs and drivers with suspended licenses.

Normally at these times there would be two or three deputies out on the roads.

"Our whole purpose was to concentrate on OWI, suspended drivers and drug arrests," Chief Deputy Phil Parker said. "We essentially quadrupled our coverage for the weekend."

The patrols had an effect, yielding three OWI arrests and another criminal arrests. Deputies also caught four individuals driving with suspended licenses.

The officers also issued 96 warnings and 25 citations.

Far from a tool simply to pick on drivers, Parker said the goal of the patrols was in line with the first point of Sheriff Scott Stockton's mission statement, which is to protect the life and property of Putnam County residents.

"When the sheriff implements these saturation patrols, that is the main goal," Parker said. "Intoxicated drivers on the road are a danger to the life and property of Putnam County. The reason Sheriff Stockton will continue to do these saturation patrols is to ensure we are doing that part of our mission statement."

He added that the patrols went beyond U.S. and state highways and even off of the main county roads.

"We were concentrating these enforcement efforts on just about every sector of the county," Parker said. "I was very pleased with it. The guys went out of their way. They were very diligent."

The patrol had been in the planning stages for about a month, with Lt. Dwight Simmons taking the role of lead officer for the patrol.

Parker cited the opening weekend of the Putnam County Fair, and the increased traffic it brings, as both a reason for the patrol and a challenge to organizing it. The department's corps of reserve deputies aided the merit deputies and made the patrols possible.

"A lot of what the reserves did in this was participate in fair detail so the merit guys could be out on patrol," Parker said. "There were also some reserves out on the saturation patrols."

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