MCSO increases patrols at Salt River during holiday weekend - FOX 10 News |

MCSO increases patrols at Salt River during holiday weekend

MESA, Ariz. -

It is one of the most popular recreations in the valley: tubing down the Salt River. 

But if you're not careful, a fun day on the river could turn into jail time.

30,000 people headed to Salt River and beefed-up police patrols worked to keep everyone safe.

Tube after tube floated down the current, kids played in the water and even dogs enjoyed Memorial Day weekend at the Salt River.

"Memorial Day weekend is our kickoff for the summer. It's our busiest weekend, we fluctuate 25,000 to 35,000 people per day," said Sgt. Christopher Dowell, with Maricopa County Sheriff's office.

It was a good time, but for some--a little too good.

MCSO looked for underage drinking, impaired drivers and anyone causing trouble.

"I appreciate the police presence out here. They kept us safe tonight and in line and make sure we are alright," said Robert Hernandez.

What worried the sheriff's office most this weekend were the problems that come from people drinking all day under the sun.

"As it gets a little warmer and everybody has a little alcohol in them, we see tempers start to flare, people are getting upset because they are trying to get off the river. Those little incidents that could have been worked out before are intensified because of the alcohol and drugs," said Dowell.

"I think people were pretty good today," said Courtney Crowley. "There was a little [drinking] and by a little, I mean a lot."

By the end of the day as people packed up to go home, we saw some people barely able to walk and others walk away in handcuffs.

"if we have zero tolerance on those issues then our weekend goes a lot better. we have less fights, we have less issues," said Dowell.

Officials say if your headed to the Salt River Monday, get there early--no later than 10 a.m.--to avoid road closures from traffic.

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