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Thursday, November 25, 2010 - 7:50am

Troopers Boost Holiday Enforcement

Georgia State Patrol officers are out in full-force for the Thanksgiving holiday. But the department’s tight budget will slightly change how they cover the roads.

Troopers will be all over the state, looking for the usual -- drunk drivers, speeders, and people not using seatbelts. But because of budget cuts, Georgia State Patrol officers are under a mandate to hold-down their monthly gas expenses.

Two years ago, a 25 percent cut on fuel costs meant about $410 a month could be spent per patrol car. Now, GSP spokesman Gordy Wright says they’ve had to cut deeper:

“And now we need to get it under $400 a month, so there will certainly be more stationary patrols and road checks, which are just as effective as a traffic enforcement and crime-fighting tool.”

Wright says the department understands troopers in rural areas have to cover more counties, and thus will spend more on gas.

But he says even with cuts, nothing is lost in enforcement of the interstates. And nearly 800 troopers are expected to cover the roads for the busiest travel days of the holiday period-Wednesday and Sunday.

The holiday travel period began Wednesday evening at 6 p.m., and runs through midnight on Sunday.