Operation 'Rolling Thunder' expanding to include more rural areas

LYONS, GA (WTOC) - Mention 'Rolling Thunder' in Georgia, and most people picture patrol cars on busy interstates.

Law officers are starting to expand that operation to include state highways in more rural areas, too. Police departments in small towns can't cover an area by themselves, but when they team up, they can help keep you safer on the road - even in small towns.

The sleepy back roads through Uvalda aren't that sleep anymore. Police Chief Scott Jarrard says people would be shocked at the traffic that passes through.

"There are 10-15,000 different cars that come through Uvalda on a daily basis," Chief Jarrard said. "In my time working traffic here, we've made several felony drug arrests and made a multitude of DUI arrests."

That's a challenge when the chief is also the only officer. Thanks to fellow officers in the region's Traffic Enforcement Network, he can safely hold a license check. Officers from 40 agencies across the area team up to focus on drug running, DUI, and more.

"We're able to come together once a month in an area where we deem there are problems and help the smaller guys out where they don't have the resources," said Sgt. Matt Lynn, Lyons Police Department.

Chief Jarrard says most people think of Rolling Thunder patrolling the big interstates, but the back roads need a presence too.

"It shows the bad guys that we're out here working, and working together," he said. "But it also shows the law-abiding citizens that we're working and trying to fight crime and get drugs off the street."

Besides the local police and sheriff's offices, the Governor's Office of Highway Safety helps these regional networks when it comes to this part of Rolling Thunder and other operations.

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