Law enforcement across Beaufort County gears up for holiday weekend

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comAugust 31, 2012 

It will likely be business as usual for local law enforcement officers this weekend when thousands of drivers take to the road to celebrate the unofficial end of summer.

Officials from the Beaufort and Bluffton police departments and the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office said their agencies have no plans for DUI checkpoints or additional enforcement over the Labor Day weekend.

Port Royal Police Chief Alan Beach said his department will have more officers on duty, but no checkpoints are scheduled.

About 424,000 drivers across the state were expected to travel at least 50 miles from home between Thursday and Monday, about the same number as last year, according to AAA Carolinas.

A spokesman for the auto club said rising gas prices likely will put a damper on travel.

"A month ago, we expected a robust increase this year for the Labor Day holiday travel weekend, but with the recent spike in gas prices and the threat of Hurricane Isaac, many last-minute travelers will choose to stay home," David Parsons, president of AAA Carolinas, said in a statement.

Gas prices have increased by about a penny a day since July 3, with the average price for a gallon of unleaded fuel rising from $2.91 to $3.49 a gallon, according to AAA officials.

Last year, Labor Day prices averaged $3.38 a gallon in South Carolina.

It also is expected to be a busy weekend on local waterways.

Sgt. Michael Paul Thomas, a spokesman for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, said DNR officials will be on patrol all weekend and performing courtesy boat inspections at several public landings.

Thomas said officers will be at the Pinckney Island boat landing near Hilton Head Island between 10 a.m. and noon Saturday and at Stokes Bluffton Landing in Hampton County during the same hours Sunday.

Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/ProtectServeBft.

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