Operation Zero Tolerance starting

Published 6:52 pm Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Georgia State Troopers, Sheriff’s deputies, area police and other law enforcement have begun their summer Operation Zero Tolerance, an all-out effort to stop impaired drivers and reckless speeders, as well as promote the use of safety belts and child restraints.

Georgia’s July 4 OZT holiday enforcement crackdown is scheduled to begin Friday, June 19, and runs through Sunday, July 5.

In Georgia, Operation Zero Tolerance (OZT) is in effect “24-7-365.” But special enforcement waves are also mobilized to target these travel periods when impaired driving and summer holiday traffic volumes are historically the highest on Georgia’s roadways.

Officers will be focusing on looking out for drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs (both illegal and prescription), making sure drivers and passengers are buckled up and enforcing highway speed limits, said Cpl. Kyle Duke of the Georgia State Patrol’s Colquitt post.

“Operation Zero Tolerance sends state troopers and other law enforcement out in concentrated patrols, particularly targeting drunk drivers,” Cpl. Duke said. “We’re going to be conducting several road safety checks and working closely with Sheriff’s offices and police departments in a joint effort.”

In Georgia, where alcohol is involved in one out of five crashes, almost half of the 14 traffic deaths during the 2007 July 4th travel period involved at least one drunk driver, according to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

GOHS Director Bob Dallas advised people planning to party to arrange for a sober driver or store taxi cab numbers in their cell phone. Designated drivers can help by not allowing open containers of alcohol in their car, and by making sure they and their passengers always use their seat belts, Dallas said.

Motorists are also reminded to call 911 if they spot or know of an impaired driver. They can also call *GSP (*477) on their mobile phone to be connected for free with the nearest Georgia State Patrol post, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Traffic stop leads to drug charges

State troopers and Sheriff’s deputies made arrests in two separate incidents involving suspected drug sales.

On the evening of Friday, June 12, state troopers from the Georgia State Patrol’s Colquitt post were conducting a road safety checkpoint at U.S. 27 South and Georgia 262 South. After stopping one car in particular, Trooper 1st Class Walt Landrum discovered the driver was wanted and its passenger, 24-year-old Antonio Bernard Smiley of 120 Alice Lane of Attapulgus, had a suspended driver’s license for a controlled substance violation, according to Cpl. Duke.

A pat-down search of Smiley was conducted, but nothing was found. Then, Landrum asked Smiley to remove his shoes. Inside his shoes, Smiley had been hiding a plastic bag containing suspected marijuana and a lip balm tube with several pieces of suspected crack cocaine inside, Cpl. Duke said.

Smiley was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and misdemeanor possession of marijuana. The car’s driver was also taken to the Decatur County Jail on an unrelated warrant.