Thanksgiving traditionally kicks off the season of holiday parties, shopping frenzies and extra police patrols to keep all the revelry incheck.
This year, though, state budget cuts and local belt-tightening will prevent the stepped-up police protection county residents have known in Thanksgivings and Christmases past.
State troopers will begin holiday patrols today at 6 p.m. and will continue through midnight Sunday, said 1st Sgt. Stephen Reynolds ofthe Westminster barracks.
The troopers will be participating in Operation CARE, or Combined Accident Reduction Effort, along with state troopers from Maine to Florida.
Troopers will concentrate on enforcing speed limits on county roads using radar and VASCAR, Reynolds said.
Troopers also will focus on arresting drunken drivers, he said.
In the past, troopers who live in Carroll but were stationed at other barracks were paid overtime to increase police presence on county roads. Because of budget cuts, only troopers stationed in Westminster will work in the county over the holidays.
Westminster City Police also will have its regular number of police arresting drunken drivers and other violators on city roads, said Cpl. Rick May.
Theother county municipalities with police forces expect to have their usual number of officers working on the holiday weekend. All said they would concentrate on apprehending drivers who have had too much to drink.
Friday, the traditional kickoff of holiday shopping, usually means increased foot patrols by police of county businesses and shopping areas.
May said city police have been conducting additional foot patrols for several months to save money and fuel. He said he expected those foot patrols to continue as shoppers begin hitting the streets in droves.
In another move to cut costs, city police have not ordered more "citations" for motorists who leave their cars unlocked or packages in view.
City police have used the courtesy tickets, which carry no fine, to remind holiday shoppers to be careful during the holidays.
May said the department has about 500 of the citations left from last year, and officers on downtown foot patrol might distribute those.
The holiday season also will bring increased foot patrols in Taneytown, said Chief Melvin Diggs.
Officers will payspecial attention to businesses and banks because of the increase inarmed robberies in recent months, Diggs said.
State police hope for a repeat of last year's Thanksgiving holiday, which saw no fatal accidents on county roads.
Sixteen accidents were serious enough torequire police investigation, and 14 people were taken to area hospitals.
Fifteen motorists were charged with driving while intoxicated, and 76 citations were written for exceeding 55 mph.