The Santa Monica Police Department will triple patrol resources this weekend in anticipation of large holiday crowds.
SMPD will have additional patrols deployed on the beach, Pier and Main Street in the next few days and while a heat wave is expected, officials said the resources would be needed regardless of the weather due to Santa Monica’s popularity as a holiday destination.
SMPD Lieutenant Erika Aklufi said the department was ready for the expected influx of visitors.
“It’s a significant increase in resources due to the heat and we know we will see more people than we would otherwise,” she said.
She said the department may target more resources toward the beach if needed, specifically in anticipation of visitors who may bring animals to local beaches. Special operations include efforts targeting drunk driving and traffic enforcement.
“Our work isn’t going to change other than we’re going to be watching for heat related issues and one of the big ones on that is with pets,” she said. “Pets are not allowed anywhere on our beach, even on a leash, they are not allowed on the sand. A lot of people come from inland and bring pets that are not allowed out there. We have the possibility of them putting them in their cars and we would much rather have people not bring them at all rather than worry about pets in hot vehicles.”
She said locals should understand traffic may be difficult during the weekend and SMPD will have additional officers on the roads, including preplanned DUI enforcement.
On Friday, Sept. 2, SMPD will conduct a DUI Checkpoint from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. at an undisclosed location. Locations are chosen based on incidents of impaired driving-related crashes and drivers should be aware a DUI isn’t limited to just alcohol. Prescription drugs and marijuana can both trigger a DUI if drivers are impaired. Drivers charged with a first-time DUI face an average of $13,500 in fines and penalties, as well as a suspended license.
The Department will also host a “Know Your Limit” event on Saturday, Sept. 3 from 7 p.m. to midnight.
The “Know Your Limit” program educates residents about the dangers of driving impaired before they get behind the wheel.
Officers will ask customers how many drinks they have consumed and whether they believe they are still able to drive safely. Officers will then invite volunteers to take a breathalyzer test to see if they are able to guess their blood alcohol content (BAC). Customers are provided information on alcohol intake and average BAC levels.
It is illegal for anyone 21 or older to drive with a BAC of .08% or higher. That limit can be reached by women with two drinks in an hour and three drinks in men.
SMPD will also conduct traffic safety operations focused on the most dangerous driver behaviors that put the safety of people biking or walking at risk throughout the month of September.