Law enforcement officers are planning to be on high alert for St. Patrick’s Day weekend, looking out for drunken drivers and underage drinkers.
Additional DUI checkpoints, saturation patrols and shoulder-tap operations are scheduled to help ensure that celebrants of the Irish holiday stay out of trouble.
"We want everyone to be happy and celebrate, but we’re also being realistic, because we know that some people will not be responsible," said LAPD Detective Bill Bustos of the Valley Traffic Division.
The freeways will see a crackdown as well. On St. Patrick's Day last year, California Highway Patrol officers made more than 300 arrests statewide, according to a CHP press release. At least three people were killed, provisional data shows, CHP said.
"It takes more than luck to avoid a DUI," the agency warned drivers ahead of the holiday.
CHP officers have planned two checkpoints for St. Patrick's Day weekend (see full map below):
- 7:30 p.m. Friday to 1:30 a.m. Saturday: Whittier Boulevard just west of Hoefner Avenue in East Los Angeles.
- 9 p.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday: Canoga Avenue just south of Califa Avenue in Woodland Hills.
CHP was among many Southern California law enforcement agencies, including the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and dozens of police departments, participating in the "Avoid the 100" anti-drunken driving campaign for the weekend.
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St. Patrick’s Day is a known higher-risk weekend, said Bustos of the LAPD. Because the holiday falls on a Sunday this year, Bustos said he expects people will be celebrating beginning Friday.
Los Angeles Police Department officers dressed in plain clothes are preparing to monitor grocery and liquor stores, gas stations, restaurants and bars to ensure customers who are under 21-years-old or already highly intoxicated are not sold alcoholic beverages. Part of this operation will be sending undercover officers into an establishment and try to buy alcohol after identifying as an underage patron. If alcohol is sold, officers will cite the establishment.
The LAPD plans DUI checkpoints Friday and Saturday at locations below, provided by Bustos (see full map below):
- Santa Monica Boulevard and Carmelina Avenue in West LA
- Victory Boulevard and Bellingham Avenue in North Hollywood
- Florence Avenue and Broadway in South LA
- Highland and De Longpre avenues in Hollywood
- Imperial Highway and Main Street on the southern edge of LAX
- Van Nuys and Amboy Avenue in Pacoima
On Sunday, LAPD saturation patrol will send a large number of officers to specific areas that have seen a high number of alcohol-related incidents in past. Those areas are:
- East Los Angeles near Hollenbeck
- North Hollywood
- Watts near 77th Street
- Hollywood around Hollywood Boulevard.
"We’re going to reach out to more people," Bustos said. "We’re going to be all over the community."
To prevent an incident from occurring, authories recommend these steps:
- Plan a safe way home before festivities begin.
- Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your keys at home.
- If you're impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 911.
- And remember, if you know someone who is about to drive impaired or ride with someone who is impaired, help your friend make other arrangements.
View LAPD, CHP Checkpoints for St. Patrick's Day Weekend 2013 in a larger map