Joint effort on drunken driving set

September 04, 1992|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Staff Writer

Maryland law enforcement officials will be searching for drunken drivers on land and on the water over the Labor Day weekend.

In fact, the state police and the Natural Resources Police are calling in everyone from their superintendents on down -- even those who usually work behind desks -- to beef up patrols over the weekend that traditionally brings summer to a close.

"We want to present a more united front," Col. Franklin I. Wood, superintendent of the Natural Resources Police, said during a news conference yesterday at Sandy Point State Park.

Colonel Wood said he will spend half a day riding the roads with Col. Larry W. Tolliver, the state police superintendent, and that Colonel Tolliver join him for half a day in a boat patrolling Maryland waterways.

The two officials said yesterday that using administrators, who are paid straight salaries, will help hold down overtime costs.

The joint effort this weekend is the latest of several recent cooperative ventures between the state police and the Natural Resources Police.

This summer, state police drug dogs have been accompanying Natural Resources Police on boat searches, and Colonel Tolliver said the two agencies will continue to work together on drug-interdiction programs.

Although there have been fewer fatalities from drunken driving and drunken boating this year than in 1991, Colonel Tolliver said, police want to intensify their efforts this weekend because they expect heavy boating and automobile traffic.

More police will be working the highways and waterways this weekend than ever before, he said. Nearly all of the 1,700 state police officers will be involved in the effort, which will include patrols and roadblocks in unspecified locations.

The Natural Resources Police will use nearly all of their 200-person force to set up similar surveillance on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Although they won't be manning the equivalent of roadblocks, they will be patrolling some of the state's most dangerous waterways looking for the kind of erratic and unsafe boating that could indicate a drunken operator.

About 60 percent of all boating accidents are alcohol-related, Colonel Wood said.

Last year, state police arrested 158 motorists for drunken driving during the Labor Day weekend. Three people died on state roads and two in accidents on the water during the holiday weekend.

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