“About 80% of the available officers are all working on the beat right now,” said Sergeant Jeff Carlisle of the North Sacramento unit.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – As the sun sets on Thanksgiving, work is just beginning for California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers who work during the holiday.
The law enforcement agency tasked with securing our roads during the busiest days of the year operates on “maximum enforcement.”
The statewide policy means each CHP office will maximize the number of working officers lasting the weekend through Sunday evening.
“About 80 percent of the available officers are all working on the beat right now,” said Sergeant Jeff Carlisle of the North Sacramento unit.
While the day remained relatively calm, ABC10 cruised along Carlisle and found the evening hours getting busier and busier.
During our hour and a half with him, we saw him do the following:
- Passing a speeding car
- Help for a driver with a flat tire on the side of the road
- Call a concerned citizen who has reported a DUI
- Assisting an officer in a difficult encounter
After dropping our crew off, Carlisle said he immediately arrested a suspected drunk driver, found another officer made a separate arrest and a pedestrian was fatally hit and killed in a collision.
“Just in the last 15 to 20 minutes I’ve already heard a general spike in DUI drivers,” Carlisle said as headquarters continued to update him on the whereabouts of his officers.
That makes sense since many head out after eating and drinking in the afternoon.
“Compared to other holidays, Thanksgiving and maybe the Christmas holidays, the DUI chaos will start earlier in the evening than on New Year’s Eve,” Carlisle said.
While enforcing DUI is high on her list, Carlisle said her other priorities are helping with breakdowns, speed and seat belt enforcement.
It’s all in an effort to protect the many drivers and passengers on the roads. For Thanksgiving 2022, AAA predicted 54.6 million people would travel 50 miles or more from home.
That’s why CHP officials are on duty.
“Not just how many officers are out there, but we should strategically place them in areas where they are efficient with our resources and doing the best they can,” Carlisle said.
A lot of work for a simple goal – “Getting drivers from A to B safely,” he said
Carlisle has been doing this work for 20 years, but even when he works on Thanksgiving, he’s grateful.
“Most of the time, as I get closer to my retirement, I will look back and think of the times I was able to help people.”
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