Police step up patrols for long Fourth of July weekend

The Fairfield Police Department said it is gearing up as it prepares for increased traffic from people out of town.

Greg Thompson

Jul 2, 2024, 9:29 PM

Updated 11 days ago

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Police say there will be extra patrols on the road to keep everyone safe, with plenty of celebrations and parties planned in the area for the long Fourth of July holiday weekend.
In Fairfield, Officer Chanse Wilkie says the department circles this weekend every year, because "everybody's feeling patriotic and everyone's going to be up and out and about later."
When you add in the number of people who visit from out of town, Wilkie says it's a combination that "increases the amount of traffic, and it increases the amount of, for lack of a better word, poor decision making."
At the state level, police admit they might not have the staffing that they would like, but with the American Automobile Association saying drunk driving is a factor in about 40% of fatal crashes around the Fourth of July, they plan to be out there as well.
According to Capt. Benjamin Borelli, the Connecticut State Police are "going to have roving DUI shifts, and that's a program put on through the DOT and the grants that they give us. So, we'll have extra people out there, specifically targeting hot spot areas."
The Fairfield police say they also have state grants, and plan to increase their patrols this weekend too, with Wilkie saying that "having a little too much to drink is one of the big mistakes that we see, and then that leads to all the other little mistakes of maybe instead of fully stopping at a stop sign, they kind of roll through, and then they might not be checking their blind spots."
While that's always dangerous, police say it creates even more of a safety risk on a weekend like this, when the sidewalks and streets are filled with so many extra people.
"This is the type of weekend we kind of demand perfection," explained Wilkie. "We're going be very straight up with the people and let them know that these are the consequences."
Which he says means officers will be much less likely to just let people go with a warning.
While Wilkie knows that might frustrate some people, he says "ultimately, it's going to keep you safe, and it's going to keep the people of the community safe."
To avoid any risk of a ticket, the police recommend everyone plan ahead for when you might need a ride home. If you do need to leave your car somewhere, remember it's a long weekend, and there'll be time to go back and get it.


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