RUMFORD-The local police are beefing up patrols to aggressively enforce driving-under-the influence and underage-drinking violations during the upcoming graduations and the Memorial Day weekend.
Chief Stacy Carter said laws have been strengthened for those who furnish alcohol to or provide a place for its consumption by people under age 21. Violators also incur stronger penalties, he added.
The state’s zero-tolerance policy for alcohol consumption by minors can lead to a one-year suspension of a driver’s license, Carter added. If the blood alcohol level is above .08 percent, then the violator will also be charged with operating under the influence.
Young drivers also will be subject to losing their licenses for 30 days if they transport alcoholic beverages.
Carter said an extra patrol officer will be on duty over Memorial Day weekend, and on June 9 and June 10, which are the dates of the Dirigo High School graduation and the Mountain Valley High School graduation.
In other police matters, Carter said police officers will ticket anyone they find not wearing a safety belt between May 22 and June 3, under a state program known as Click It or Ticket. Extra police coverage to carry out the program is funded by a $1,700 grant from the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety.
Carter said the department’s bike patrol will begin for the season as soon as the rain ends. It will continue through the autumn months. In addition to patrolling streets, both the bike officers and officers patrolling in cruisers will make contacts with the public and provide crime prevention tips as part of a community policing effort.
“This will be a chance for officers to meet the citizens and for the citizens to meet the officers,” he said. “We want to learn of complaints and try to build a good community relationship.”