The school year is wrapping up, and summer is almost here, but officials have some holiday safety tips to ensure the Memorial Day weekend is safe and fun for everyone.
Sgt. Patrick Dark with the Texas Department of Public Safety said the department will have extra officers patrolling for the holiday.
“Anybody traveling needs to give themselves extra time to get where they are going,” he said. There will be more traffic than normal — Just be safe out there.”
Sheriff James Campbell said his department will also be fully staffed, with nearly all deputies working. He said reserve deputies will also be on the streets.
“We are going to be out trying to catch the bad guys,” he said.
Campbell said citizens should be careful if alcohol is involved in their weekend plans.
“If they are going somewhere and they are going to be drinking, don't overdo it,” he said. “Have someone carry them home, because we don't carry them home. If we pick them up, we don't carry them home.”
The Jacksonville Police Department said they will have a normal weekend's worth of units on the streets, plus its patrol boat on Lake Jacksonville.
Cherokee County game wardens will also be out and about. Game warden Eric Collins said boaters should be aware that driving a boat intoxicated carries the same penalty as drinking and driving in a vehicle.
“There is no open container law on a boat like there is in a car, but … you can't be intoxicated and operate a motor boat,” Collins said.
Collins said it is a good idea for everyone to wear a life jacket, but it is illegal for anyone under 13 to be on a boat without one.
“That includes infants in carriers, and people don't realize that,” he said. “We have no tolerance for any life jacket law violation.”
Fire Chief Paul White said the department has a “Kids Don't Float” program, which provides life jackets free to the public. Sizes range from toddler to adult and are located at the concession area on Lake Jacksonville. The jackets are free for use, but must be returned after the day's activities are done.
White said for the holiday, retired firefighter Jay Hooker will be at the concession making sure the jackets are stocked.
“Our main job is to make sure everyone is safe and has a good time, and everyone goes home safe to their families,” Collins said.
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