Having a safe St. Pat’s
Avoid flashing red lights after drinking green beer
St. Patrick’s Day might not be the holiday that is most notorious for bringing mayhem to the Plaza (that distinction falls to the Fourth of July), but with festivities that tend to center around green beer and bars, it certainly peaks the attention of local law enforcement.
“We will be out in maximum force,” said Police Chief Bret Sackett, “hoping to maintain some sense of peace and order at the local bars and restaurants, as well as keep the roadways safe from DUI drivers.”
Sgt. David Thompson said Sonoma will be “fully staffed,” with up to four or five patrol cars out at a time. The law enforcement vigilance will extend to foot patrols around the Plaza, and officers doing walkthroughs of the bars, including the Blue Moon Saloon, Steiners, Town Square and Murphy’s, which draws some of the biggest crowds.
Officers will be looking for individuals who are so intoxicated they should not be served, as well as minors drinking, both inside bars and outside stores and convenience shops asking those of age to buy alcohol for them.
In February, a decoy sting, in which under-age seeming decoys were sent by the police department to make purchases, resulted in three citations for area bars and restaurants, and one related drug bust during the “shoulder-tap” portion of the sting, in which decoys asked adults to buy alcohol for them.
While there are no stings currently planned for the weekend, Thompson said that it was not out of the question that some still could be set up, and noted that the police force recently received $6,500 in grant funds to conduct such operations for six months as part of Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s Minor Decoy/Shoulder Tap Grant Project, funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Besides looking for minors and keeping “peace and order,” the cops will also be on the lookout for intoxicated drivers.
California Highway Patrol reported that it made more than 300 arrests for DUI across the state last St. Patrick’s Day. Local CHP made two.
“My message to the community is to drink responsibly,” said Sackett. “Be prepared. Identify someone as a designated driver. And if you feel like you’ve had too much, be sure to call a cab.”
Vern’s Taxi Service can be reached at 938-8885 and Sonoma Cab is at 889-1266.