Increased police presence over St. Patrick's Day weekend

Increased police presence over St. Patrick's Day weekend

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With large celebrations like the St. Patrick's Day pub crawl in Old City, there is a heavy emphasis on staying safe. With large celebrations like the St. Patrick's Day pub crawl in Old City, there is a heavy emphasis on staying safe.
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By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

ALCOA (WATE) -  St. Patrick's Day may be Sunday, but the celebrations are already underway throughout the city. For law enforcement officers, that means cracking down on what is becoming an increasingly problematic weekend for drunk driving.  

Law enforcement in Blount County will be out in full force this weekend in their efforts to keep the roadways safe. After seeing an increasing number of drinking related incidents on this holiday weekend last year, police are stepping up their saturation patrols.

"Unfortunately, we've seen an increased number of crashes involving alcohol along with the rest of the impaired drivers just for the basic fact that people are getting out and celebrating St. Patrick's Day," said Sgt. Hank Morris with Alcoa Police Department.

Last year, Alcoa police made four DUI arrests over the holiday weekend. In total, 52 citations were issued. This year they are combining efforts with Maryville Police and Blount County Sheriff's Department.

With large celebrations like the St. Patrick's Day pub crawl in Old City, there is a heavy emphasis on staying safe.

"We have quite a few business cards for cab drivers on file, anyone that's close to being over served or anything close to that, we try to get them a cab ride home and encourage that," said Nathan Johnson, the general manager of Jig and Reel.

Jig and Reel is one of the 10 bars participating in the pub crawl. They expect thousands of people to pack the Old City.

"Last year we had a line of 40-50 people waiting to get in most of the night, we're expecting a huge, huge crowd this weekend," Johnson said.

Police hope their presence acts more as a preventative measure.

"Hopefully it's more of a deterrent and we get out there and we're not able to find any and that means our efforts are working, unfortunately we do see an increased number of arrests," Sgt. Morris said.

Knox County Sheriff's Department will also be increasing it's patrols this weekend and THP will have 11 checkpoints throughout the region.

The increased enforcement will on go through Sunday night in hopes to keep the roads safe all weekend.

"St Patty's Day is a great time," Johnson says. "It's a fun day, but you know it's not worth getting a DUI or anything involved with drinking so we encourage everyone to be safe, come and have a good time but in a safe way."

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