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Officers out in full force on New Years
Police highlight Operation Zero Tolerance and Click It or Ticket
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Hard to imagine the men and women pulled over Thursday would offer police gratitude.

But it often happens, said Lt. Floyd Canup, commander of Gainesville Police Department's specialized services division.

"They all know (what they did)," he said, referring to those pulled over for one traffic offense in particular. "We had one guy send a letter of thanks because we wrote him a ticket for a seat belt violation. The next week he was in an accident and wearing his seat belt (because of that ticket)."

On the eve of what will be a busy weekend for traffic officers, Gainesville police arrived Thursday to roads they recognize as midday traffic shortcuts. In all, 11 drivers pulled to the curb of Riverside Drive where it intersects with Enota Avenue. Most were cited for not wearing seat belts.

Such a surprise check is one more way to highlight motor vehicle safety, officers said, as well as advertise the state and national highway campaigns known as Operation Zero Tolerance and Click It or Ticket.

"With this, we don't stop everybody. We have a reason," said Sgt. Dale Cash, traffic services coordinator for the Gainesville department, as he watched his officers motion drivers to the side.
"This is different from an actual road check."

Police sent alerts about their stepped up traffic patrols and checkpoints before Christmas and have again reminded drivers through such stops that traffic laws will be enforced hard this New Year's weekend.

Checkpoints are what drivers should expect today with Gainesville police and the Hall County Sheriff's Office planning a joint operation somewhere in this area. Don't assume police will be monitoring drivers after the midnight Peach Drop.

"A trend we've noticed recently is we've had a few more DUIs in the afternoons than at night," Cash said. "We're combatting impaired driving, not just drunk driving but impaired driving. A person who has two beers can be impaired."

On Thursday, the time spent at the four-way stop netted more than 11 tickets, including one for a shattered windshield.

With recent crime reports showing an uptick in burglaries and thefts in the area, Canup and Cash agreed that just being visible can serve as a deterrent.

"(An operation like this) is how we get out here and find other things," Canup said, referencing the increase. "Yes, we're concentrating on seat belts. But we're hoping to find more."