Law enforcement ready for holiday weekend

Channel 4 safety expert reminds people to be smart, safe

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For many people, Memorial Day weekend means a road trip out of town, time at the beach and at parties or barbeques.

For law enforcement, that means extra patrol and more eyes on people on the roads.

Millions of Americans use this long weekend to observe Memorial Day, but to also celebrate.
Because of the long weekend and those celebrations, law enforcement officers will be out in full force and they're reminding everyone to use good judgement and stay safe.

Channel 4 meteorologists say the sun will be shining this weekend, helping to kick off the unofficial start of Florida summer in style.

Channel 4's Safety Expert Ken Jefferson weighs in on holiday safety.

"Traditionally there's a lot of traffic on the road," Jefferson said. "People are going to the beaches. People are going back and forth to others homes for picnics and cook outs and things like that."

According to AAA, 34.8 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home for the unofficial start of the summer travel season. That's about 1 percent lower than 2012.

But millions of Americans will also be on the local roads, driving to events and barbeques.

"People are on the road that have been drinking and they want to be able to deter that type of behavior by having them out in force," Jefferson said. "So word of caution for those who might want to indulge in alcoholic beverages and get behind the wheel. The Sheriff's Office as well as Florida Highway Patrol will be out in full force, specifically looking for impaired drivers."
Most have heard it a million times, but a reminder can't hurt -- don't drink and drive. Have a designated driver and for the one hosting the party, Jefferson said take responsibility and take everyone's keys.

"My experience as a law enforcement officer or former law enforcement officer has shown that if you get the word out there and they see you out there, it does have a propensity to deter persons from getting behind the wheel," Jefferson said. "Because they know that their chances of getting stopped are greater now then it would normally be."

There will also be several road closures in Downtown Jacksonville because of the Jazz Festival which goes until Sunday.

For a complete list of the specific roads and what times they'll be closed, we have posted them here.