The VPD will be watching - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

The VPD will be watching

July 3, 2007

Valdosta - The H.E.A.T. Is on in Valdosta to keep the community safe this fourth of July. And the Police Department's newest unit takes this job seriously.  "The intent of the unit is to arrest DUI offenders and to slow down speeders," says Commander Brian Childress of the Valdosta Police Department.

Since the H.E.A.T unit began less than six months ago, they have made more than 100 DUI arrests, caught 18 drug suspects, written 916 seatbelt violations, and handed out 1052 speeding tickets.

And with the fourth of July just around the corner, they'll be out in full force.  "Drinking and driving seems to pick up on the 4th of July.  It's one of those holidays where everyone has off and they want to get out there and enjoy a drink," says Sgt. Earl Durrance.

They say getting those impaired drivers off the road could be the difference between life and death.  "There's a correlation in regards to DUI drivers and fatalities and injuries," Childress says.

And with the Georgia State Patrol predicting 6 deaths and nearly 400 injuries on the roads this July 4th, the HEAT unit wants to play their part in lowering these statistics.  "If we pull you over and have probable cause that your DUI, we will arrest you.  Non-negotiable," Childress says.

So some words of wisdom for those on the roads.  "Slow down, buckle up, and don't drink and drive.  We'll be out there watching," Durrance warns.

More than 500 departments from all over the state will join the Valdosta Police in an effort to keep all Georgia drivers safe.

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