Officers Prepare For Busy Holiday Weekend

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Area law enforcement agencies are gearing up for the heavy influx of visitors Memorial Day weekend.

Department of Public Safety Sgt. John Whetten said he has every highway patrol officer scheduled to work the long weekend.

"We will be monitoring traffic coming into Payson as we usually do Friday afternoon and evening," Whetten said. "It usually backs up all the way to Rye. If it does that, ADOT will put up a message board in Rye warning people of traffic backups."

Officers will do the same on Monday in the Christopher Creek area as drivers make their way back south, Whetten said.

"We are a little concerned about how the new roundabout (on Highway 87 in north Payson) is going to affect traffic coming in from Pine," Whetten said. "I guess we will see how things go."

Drunk driving details

DPS and other area law enforcement agencies are adding extra DUI enforcement in the Roosevelt Lake area Saturday.

"We are participating with other agencies in the DUI checkpoint which starts at 7:30 p.m. on Highway 188," Whetten said. "Prior to that, starting at noon, we are having a roving wolf pack targeting DUI drivers."

A wolf pack, also known as a DUI saturation detail, consists of extra patrol officers focusing on drunk drivers. Whetten said the roving wolf pack will patrol the area around the lake from noon to 7:00 p.m.

The DUI checkpoint or road block will be at milepost 251 and officers from the Gila County Sheriff's Office, DPS, the Payson and Globe police departments will be identifying and removing intoxicated drivers from the road.

Gila County Undersheriff Adam Shepherd said deputies in the southern part of the county will be participating in the DUI checkpoint at Roosevelt while the deputies at the Payson office will remain on their regular patrols.

Payson Police Chief Gordon Gartner said he will have his usual number of officers on duty as well as volunteers during the holiday weekend.

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