The Texas Department of Public Safety and Palestine Police Department are increasing patrols to bolster safety during the holidays.
Funded by a state grant, additional shifts for officers will run from Dec. 20 through Dec. 29. The New Year's holiday also will see additional patrols from Dec. 31 through Jan. 1.
“Our goal is not citations,” Palestine Police interim Chief Mark Harcrow told the Herald-Press Monday. “Ultimately, we are concerned with everyone's safety during a time of heavy traffic.”
DPS Director Steven McGraw said troopers will remove dangerous drivers from the roadways to protect the public.
“The holiday season gives us many reasons to celebrate with friends and family,” he said. “It's up to every one of us to make sure we do so responsibly. DPS troopers will increase their patrols...and will be on the lookout for anyone violating the law.”
In addition to traffic citations, DPS troopers made 353 felony arrests, 348 fugitive arrests, and 351 DWI arrests last holiday season.
Harcrow said the PPD will also look for thieves targeting parked vehicles – a crime that has risen sharply this year.
“More thieves have preyed on people in this fashion this year,” he said. “We've looked at it statistically – the common days, neighborhoods, and hours it occurs – and we're stepping up our patrols to curb this trend.”
DPS officials urged common-sense, courteous driving. buckling up, avoiding distractions, not driving fatigued, and moving over and slowing down for police and emergency vehicles to avoid accidents and tickets.
“We just want everyone to be safe and happy during the holidays,” Harcrow said. “All of us at the Palestine Police Department would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and happy New Year.”