Dougherty County puts H.E.A.T. on drivers during holiday
"I need to see your driver's license and proof of insurance please."
You know you're in trouble when a police officer walks up to your car window and says that.
On Labor Day, there were a lot of people hearing it after being stopped by Dougherty County Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic (HEAT) officers for traffic violations.
"We're predominately trying to address intoxicated drivers, speeding vehicles and aggressive driving behavior," says Patrol Officer Reggie French with HEAT.
Within a few hours, French pulled over a number of speeding drivers, and some, upon checking their license, had other issues such as suspended licenses.
"Most of this morning has been speeding violations, a few seatbelt violations and one child restraint violation," says French. "Last year I kind of felt like the traffic volume was a little bit more."
French says there is no such thing as a "quota" when it comes to issuing tickets; officers just need to show work for the hours they were patrolling, even if all he gives out are warnings.
This Labor Day, just like any other day, French says people groan or argue when he writes them a ticket.
"In no form or fashion is it our intention to hit people in the pocketbook, but that is the one way that we can get your attention," he says.
While citizens who receive tickets may groan, French says he notices a drastic decrease in traffic stops from before HEAT was put in place until now. Some drivers he pulls over acknowledge this, giving French a thank you when he hands them a ticket: A thank you for keeping drivers -- even themselves -- in check and the roadways safe.