VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Thousands of people are expected at the Oceanfront this Labor Day weekend, and Virginia Beach police plan to make their presence known.
Along with the holiday is the American Music Festival and the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon. That will make for a crowded resort area and lots of celebrating. So the police department is gearing up to keep things as safe as possible — that started with traffic safety checkpoints Friday night.
“Big holiday weekends, people like to come out and have fun, which we’re all about, but we just like people to come out and have fun and make sure they have a designated driver or a safe ride home somehow,” said Officer Colin Mack with Virginia Beach Police Department.
Mack said some officers will keep an eye on the crowds on Atlantic Ave while others will spend the weekend enforcing strict traffic laws throughout the city, trying to crack down on drunk drivers.
“We’re looking for impaired drivers, but we also look for the overall traffic safety component, people being buckled up, making sure equipment on the vehicle is working,” he explained.
In a way, the safety checks start at the bars. Virginia Beach Police paired with Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control to make sure patrons aren’t over-served. And to make sure those who are impaired don’t get behind the wheel, Virginia ABC is also increasing it’s presence at the Oceanfront this weekend, inside bars and restaurants.
“That’s done through observations that we conduct, sometimes in the plain clothes capacity, sometimes it’s through an inspection and through our education initiative that increases during the holiday season,” Stephan Brown, Assistant Special with Virginia ABC explained.
Virginia ABC recently received a grant that helps them increase their educational initiatives with restaurant owners, managers, and bartenders, as well as increase their operations and and patrols.