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Santa Maria Police Department ramps up patrols for July 4th safety


SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The Santa Maria Police Department is stepping up law enforcement to ensure everyone's safety during the July 4th holiday weekend.

Jasmin Sahagun of Santa Maria couldn't be more pleased that officers are
targeting drivers under the influence this holiday weekend.

"It's really good they're trying to put more police out there for the Fourth of July because there's a lot of drunk driving. It's happened before where a drunk driver hit my boyfriend in the car before. And it's very dangerous just for the intoxication," said Sahagun.

Last year, officers reported at least five DUI arrests during the July 4th weekend.

"Fourth of July is one of our heavier holidays for DUI-related offenses. Last year we had a number of arrests and accidents that were related to DUI's," said officer Jonathan Uhl with the Santa Maria Police Department.

Throughout the weekend officers say they will be looking for drivers under the influence of not only alcohol but also drugs including marijuana.

"One of the issues with driving under the influence of marijuana is that it affects your depth perception. So a lot of times there are a lot of rear-end accidents or people running stop signs or stop lights because of the depth perception issue," said Uhl.

In addition to targeting dangerous drivers, the department's fireworks enforcement team which includes undercover officers is continuing to patrol the city.

This week officers have issued more than a dozen citations for illegal fireworks.

"We have extra bodies out there looking for the use of illegal fireworks. They're illegal for a reason. They are a fire hazard. They are a safety hazard. And we don't want anybody to get injured," said Uhl.

"I like that they're stepping up trying to make the Fourth of July safe. Honestly it's nice to have fireworks to have this stuff but safely you know," said Sahagun.

While officers want people to enjoy their holiday weekend, they hope everyone will consider the safety of themselves as well as those around them.

"Have fun with your friends. Have fun with your families. If you are going to drink have somebody designated to drive for you. If you decide to drink don't drive. Make sure the person driving you is completely sober," said Uhl.

California / Home / Safety / Santa Maria - North County / Video

Patricia Martellotti

Patricia Martelotti is a reporter at KEYT|KCOY|KKFX.