If you think you see more patrol cars on streets and highways over Independence Day, you do. Many area agencies will boost patrols during the holiday, many using Missouri Department of Transportation grants to pay for added manpower.
"There's lots of funding that goes in various areas," MoDOT highway safety director Dr. Leanna Depue said. "We have increased funding for specialized mobilizations."
One such mobilization will focus on putting more officers on the streets from July 3 to July 8 searching for drunken drivers, she said.
The Cape Girardeau Police Department adds extra patrols around Independence Day every year, spokesman Darin Hickey said -- at least two every night from June 27 to July 3, and four July 3 and 4.
"We definitely concentrate our patrols where we think things will happen. We're looking for fireworks safety violations," Hickey said.
Officers will pay attention to where fireworks are being set off and who is handling them. They also will focus on how late fireworks are being set off.
People may only discharge fireworks in Jackson and Cape Girardeau from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Tuesday, and from 10 a.m. to midnight Wednesday.
Hickey said the department is currently using a "hazardous moving violations" grant. The grant is used to prevent drunken driving, to monitor stop signs, speeding and other violations.
Jackson Police Department patrol division Lt. Scott Eakers said the department diverts a lot of its extra manpower to patrol the city's Fourth of July activities. He said there will be patrols specifically for fireworks.
"The heat makes it a little difficult because we're expecting a large crowd," Eakers said. "A lot of people will be altering their plans. With Perryville postponing their fireworks, a lot of other cities postponing theirs, we're expecting a large crowd."
Eakers said MoDOT grants help pay for the extra patrols, as well as specific equipment, overtime labor and fringe benefits. Eakers applied for about $12,000 in MoDOT grants last fiscal year, but only $2,000 was approved from the state agency. He said $4,500 for Jackson has already been approved for the upcoming fiscal year.
Jackson tries to use DWI grants on its peak weekends, such as the Fourth, St. Patrick's Day and Labor Day, Eakers said.
"We also use those when we do a sobriety checkpoint. We use them when we expect a lot of traffic," Eakers said. "We'd like to do checkpoints this weekend, but we've got most of our extra patrols in the park."
Lt. David James of the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department said the county also increases manpower over the holiday. Often, extra staff is used at Jackson's Fourth of July celebration, he said.
"A lot of times, like on New Year's Day, drivers anticipate a large law enforcement response," James said. "A lot of times they get a designated driver because they know we are stepping up patrols. The deterrence is helping a lot."
City Park, Jackson, MO