DWI patrols beefed up for holiday

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College students are home for Thanksgiving, relatives are in town for the holiday and Long Island cops are warning motorists that they'll be out in force to combat drunken driving beginning Wednesday -- one of the year's busiest barhopping nights.

Both Nassau and Suffolk police forces say they're strengthening their patrols to discourage drunken drivers and to nab the ones who don't get the message and drive drunk anyway.

"Think before you drink," Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said at a news conference behind Nassau police headquarters in Mineola, according to his office.

Mangano said there would be 500 additional hours of drunken driving patrols during the Thanksgiving holiday. He also said the county's probation office would redouble efforts to make sure that about 900 convicted drunken drivers have installed and use court-ordered devices in their vehicles that measure the alcohol level in their breath before they can start the engine.

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Last Thanksgiving weekend, there were 71 drunken-driving arrests in Nassau, the county said.

A Suffolk County police spokeswoman said patrols would also be stepped up, but she declined to provide specifics.

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