Cruisers (mostly) well-behaved

SALEM – For the most part people behaved during the Salem Super Cruise, police Chief J.T. Panezott said, but his department did see an increase in arrests, especially for peeling tires and excessive smoke.

“We can’t have people peeling tires downtown because they’re not professional drivers,” he said.

His biggest concern was a vehicle losing control and going up on the sidewalk where the crowds were located.

“We think there were more people in town Saturday than ever before for this event,” he said.

Panezott did a quick comparison of arrests from the weekend of June 13-16 and the arrests during cruise weekend from Thursday through Saturday and there was a big difference. The weekend before, there were 18 arrests for various offenses, including one for peeling tires on June 16, a Sunday.

During the cruise, there were 39 and that was just over three days and did not include Sunday.

On Saturday alone, there were 30 citations, including: two drunken driving, seven peeling tires, three excessive smoke, one excessive acceleration, three speeding, one each of improper turn, driving under suspension, underage consumption, stop sign, motorcycle safety glasses and assault, two warrants, two assured clear distance and three red lights.

On Friday, there were four citations for excessive smoke, two for speeding, one for peeling tires and one warrant and on Thursday, there was one for driving under suspension.

He also said the call volume increased, praising the work of the dispatchers who had to keep up. He said there were a lot of warnings given, too, and they heard more tires peeling, but couldn’t get to them all due to the traffic.

“I think they need to get the burnout pit back,” Panezott said.

For the number of people in town, though, he said the number of citations and arrests was relatively low. He kept officers over due to the number of calls after the cruise was supposed to be over for the night. He said most people behaved and he hoped they had a good time. He offered thanks to anyone who was there for being well-behaved.

Panezott estimated the department logged more than 208 hours of overtime during the cruise from Thursday through Sunday, with a lot of officers working double shifts. He was happy with the job they did.

The officers had some help from seven to 10 auxiliary officers and the Salem-Perry Township Crime Watch, which handled the traffic in the show lots, taking some pressure off of the police.

Four bike patrol officers rode on Friday night, with three Salem officers and Sheriff Ray Stone. Two Salem officers rode the bike patrol Saturday. The department also had an unmarked car in the area, along with the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Panezott offered thanks for the help from the different agencies and the cruise volunteers.