The checkpoint in front of Woodland Middle and Euharlee Elementary schools followed the Mountain Area Traffic Enforcement Network II meeting held at Euharlee Baptist Church. Held for the second time this year in Bartow County -- BCSO hosted the first in April -- Thursday's MATEN II program was the first for EPD.
MATEN II, which covers 10 northwest Georgia counties including Bartow, is an effort of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety. There are currently 16 regional traffic enforcement networks servicing all 159 counties in Georgia.
The night began with a meal provided by the community, with state Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, serving as the guest speaker.
Loudermilk began his address to the law enforcement audience about the "sound of freedom" and recalled his time in the Air Force.
Speaking on Sept. 11 and the impact it had on the importance Americans place on "life and liberty," he said, "You have always been focused in that area of life and liberty because those of us who have taken it for granted that's what you do, is protect the life and liberty of those who are out there.
"Sept. 11 taught us to refocus ourselves and gave us a new appreciation, especially me, for those of you who are out there that, you know, face ... the challenges that you face every day. Lord knows, you don't do it for pay. Because I know in the budget, I know what most of you make and it isn't enough, but that also tells me you do it with heart and you do it for dedication and you do it as a service."
Loudermilk later joined the officers at the safety checkpoint as they searched for violations such as driver's license, insurance, impaired drivers, adult and child restraints, and vehicle defects.
The meeting was coordinated by EPD GOHS liaisons Clay Patterson and Tony Baldwin and served as a Peace Officer Standards and Training credit for those in attendance.