East Tennessee officers issue warnings, tickets during ‘Operation Southern Shield’

ROCKWOOD (WATE) – There will be a blur of blue lights along Highway 27 in Roane County through the rest of the week with the goal is to make sure you get where you need to be alive.

Law enforcement from Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida are taking part in Operation Southern Shield. They’re cracking down on speeding and stationing more patrol units in high risk areas.

There’s a makeshift memorial on Highway 27, something not easy to see.

“Every time I see it, it makes my heart break because I know it means somebody passed away there,” said Cathy Godsey.

Memorials like that are one of the reasons why officers in Roane County are taking part in Operation Southern Shield. Deputy Chief John Mayes with the Rockwood Police Department says many wrecks happen within less than 25 miles of our homes, “Because people get too comfortable in their vehicles.

Previous story: 5 Southeastern states, including Tennessee, launch traffic crackdown

Over the coming days, officers aren’t just looking for speeders, they’re watching out for seat belt violations, distracted or impaired drivers, and kids not restrained properly.

“You know going five miles per hour more than what the speed limit is, is not going to get you there any quicker,” added Deputy Chief Mayes.

During a ride along on Wednesday, there were a number of sheriff’s deputies and Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers making stops.

“Speaking to one deputy, he says he was averaging a stop every 10 to 15 minutes,” said Deputy Chief Mayes.

“Some people do speed. They go way too fast,” added Godsey.

At one point during the afternoon, an officer stopped a van and learned the driver had outstanding warrants.

Chief Deputy Tim Phillips with the Roane County Sheriff’s Office says there’s a lesson in seeing all these stops and that we need to slow down and move over.

“These highways, people are traveling 55 and on the interstates 70, 80 miles per hour and we’re no match for a vehicle,” he said.

While there may be tickets and warnings issued, police say it’s something they don’t want to do but they have to.

“We do care about you. We will enforce the laws because we want you to get to your destinations very safely,” said Deputy Chief Mayes.

“Anything to keep my kids or my grandbaby safe,” said Godsey.

Law enforcement in Roane County will be holding a road block on Friday targeting impaired drivers. Drug recognition experts will be there assisting.

The Tennessee Highway Safety Office shared some reminders:

  • Plan ahead and give yourself time during peak travel times.
  • Summer is a busy time for road construction, slowdown in all work zones.
  • Slower traffic should avoid the fast lane and if you use cruise control, stay in the slow lane.
  • Check your temper, aggressive driving and road rage will not be tolerated.

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