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Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: arodrigue@wwltv.com | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

MANDEVILLE, La. -- Labor Day on the Tchefuncte River was light on boat traffic, but heavy on fun.

It's the St. Tammany Sheriff's Office Marine Division's job to monitor that fun to make sure safety is a priority. This year, the patrol of the river included more than just two deputies; many of you were there too via the virtual ride-along on Twitter.

'Mostly wake zone violations, some vessel inspections and issues with safety equipment and that sort of thing but nothing, fortunately, dangerous yet,' said Capt. George Bonnett.

At each stop, the reason and result was tweeted, along with pictures. The concept was first tested on road patrol last weekend. After the first virtual ride along, the followers increased for the sheriff's office from 40 to almost 500.

And that's why they say they've done it again.

'I think they enjoy the novelty of it, that we're the first law enforcement agency in this area to do this and to be able to really see, truly, what it's like for law enforcement live, in real time. In the TV shows, you see, it's two or three weeks edited down to 20 minutes. This is what it really is, what's really happening in real time.'

Some of the boaters were even following the day's activity, which eventually included their own stop and citation.

But deputies say the overall goal of safety, and giving the public perspective on how they do that, was accomplished this Labor Day.

The virtual ride-along lasted more than five hours and resulted in five citations. No one was arrested.

If you'd like to follow the Sheriff's Office on Twitter, the handle is @STPSO

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