WCSO to Increase Patrol on Streets and Water throughout Holiday Weekend
The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office will conduct saturation patrols in addition to increased coverage on Old Hickory Lake this holiday weekend. Deputies and the WCSO Boat Patrol will concentrate enforcement efforts on impaired drivers to try to prevent a tragedy from occurring over the Fourth of July holiday.
The four-day holiday period officially begins Friday and runs through Monday at midnight. Sheriff’s patrols will be on the lookout for drivers who violate any traffic laws including impaired driving, distracted driving, speeding or not wearing a seat belt. The roadway overtime patrols are funded through a grant from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office.
“I cannot emphasize enough that we want you to get out and enjoy all the festivities going on in Wilson County, but please don’t drink and drive,” Sheriff Robert Bryan said. “When you are impaired, you may not realize you can’t safely drive a car or boat. Have a designated driver in case you need one to keep yourself and all of us safe.”
Lt. Steve Gatlin, who heads the WCSO boat patrol, said his team would be working the entire time in alternating shifts on Old Hickory Lake since the fireworks display schedules are extended over a four-day period. In addition to fireworks displays on Old Hickory in Wilson County, fireworks enthusiasts are likely to travel from Old Hickory Lake by boat to watch Nashville fireworks as well.
“When you have someone out on the boat who’s had too much to drink, that’s twice the problem,” Lt. Gatlin said. “First, they’re out on the water driving intoxicated and endangering lives, and then they jump into the truck and head home, driving impaired through the streets, often hauling a boat.”
Lt. Gatlin noted that there are more people out on the water for the Fourth of July celebrations than at any other time of the year, including Memorial Day and Labor Day. “Combining hot weather, alcohol and/or drugs and crowds of people on the water can be a toxic situation.”
Boat Patrol officers are essential during this time because the officers are also a resource for help if anyone is in trouble in addition to watching for dangerous activities. “We want everyone to have a good time, and most people will do what’s right, but we want to raise safety awareness on the water as well as the roads.”