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Davison Co. saturation patrol makes 28 traffic stops in six hours

The Davison County Public Safety Center serves as the home for county lockup. (Matt Gade/Republic)

On a weekend of celebration for graduates, law enforcement took extra precautions to keep the roads safe.

With high schools in Ethan and Mount Vernon holding graduation ceremonies Saturday, the Davison County Sheriff's Office doubled its usual Saturday evening staff as part of a saturation patrol.

The sheriff's office scheduled four deputies for the evening, instead of the standard one or two. The patrol, which lasted from 6 p.m. Saturday to midnight, yielded 28 traffic stops. Davison County Chief Deputy Steve Harr said a typical Saturday evening will bring between zero and 15 stops.

And with so many people driving around town for graduation parties after the event, Ethan Superintendent Terry Eckstaine was grateful to have extra officers around.

"When there's a presence of the Highway Patrol or the sheriff's office around, that always helps," Eckstaine said. "I think it's good to have them around just so people can see they're out and about and making sure nobody's getting too carried away."

From the 28 traffic stops, the sheriff's office issued eight speeding tickets, a window tint violation, a "move over law" citation and one driver's license restriction violation. It also gave warnings to 10 people for speeding, seven for driving without insurance, six for mechanical issues, four for vehicle registration and two for failing to wear a seat belt.

Harr said the department engages in saturation patrols eight to 10 times a year, at times when traffic in the county could be higher than usual.

And Davison County Sheriff Steve Brink said it's an important task, as being visible can deter drivers from breaking the law.

"If they see us out and running around ... they slow down, they don't drink as much, maybe. If they have a sober driver, they put them behind the wheel just because they know we're out and about," Brink said.

While there may be more deputies than usual on duty during big events, Brink said his office patrols near Ethan and Mount Vernon every weekend to enforce traffic violations year round.