Increased patrols at city parks for Memorial Day Weekend

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Many of you are probably heading outdoors for Memorial Day Weekend and if you head to a city park for some fun and sun, you'll probably see some extra police patrols.

Many people like to enjoy a beer outside with weather like this, but police are trying to remind people that you're not allowed to bring alcohol into city parks.

So don't be surprised if you get a ticket if you try to bring it anyway.

Kendall Carter is one of many people heading to James River Park for Memorial Day Weekend. Like many people, she brought a few beers to the park.

"Everyone does it," Carter said.  "I'm sure the cops know everyone is going to do it so you just keep it covered up. Put it in a cup."

That's where Patrol Officer Stacy Rogers comes in. He has patrolled city parks on his bike for almost two years and is part of some increased patrols during the holiday weekend.

"There's no place in the park you're not likely to encounter me," Rogers said.  " It's sort of been the perception before that, 'hey, police can't get here, it's difficult to get to those spots' and I agree, it's difficult to get to those spots but that's why they have me."

Rogers says he wrote over 250 tickets last year for people bringing alcohol into city parks.

The most common excuse police hear when busting someone for bringing alcohol to the park is that they didn't know it wasn't allowed, but there are signs banning it at every entrance.

"We've got to be responsible and respectful of everyone that uses the park," Rogers said.  "It's everybody's park and they should have the ability to use it and not have to worry about what they see here."

You're not allowed to bring glass either, so if you get caught bringing alcohol in a glass container, you're looking at a stiff fine - more than $400 after court fees. Still, park goers like Carter say that won't stop people from bringing beer to the park.

"People might try to hide it a little bit more," Carter said.  "But I don't think people are not going to bring alcohol to the river. I can't see that happening."

Police are also warning people to put anything valuable in the trunk of your car and out of sight.

Thieves often stop by park parking lots looking for valuables while people are away from their cars in the park.

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