Local, state officials urge safe St. Patrick’s Day celebrations; Additional deputies to be on patrol


Staff report

MIAMI COUNTY — Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak announced this week that the Miami County Sheriff’s Department will have extra patrols on the road for the Saint Patrick’s Day holiday.

The Miami County Sheriff’s Office will be deploying extra deputies for traffic enforcement for St. Patrick’s Day. The extra enforcement has already commenced and will conclude on March 18. St. Patrick’s Day festivities usually see an increase in alcohol consumption, which is why deputies will be focused on removing impaired drivers from the roadways. Deputies will be targeting routes with a high rate of impaired driving arrests during the extra enforcement.

Those who choose to drink are reminded to have a designated driver or risk being arrested, the Sheriff’s Office stated. The extra traffic enforcement is made possible though a grant the Sheriff’s Office received late last year from the Ohio Traffic Safety Office. The grant funds all overtime and some fuel costs.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol also encouraged residents to celebrate responsibly this week, urging those who are planning on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day to designate a sober driver. The Patrol and local law enforcement will work together to remove impaired drivers from the roadways as part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving campaign.

During the last five years, there were a total of 14 people killed in 11 fatal crashes. Of those fatal crashes, five were a result of impaired driving, resulting in eight deaths. Additionally, 137 people were injured on St. Patrick’s Day due to OVI-related crashes. The Patrol made 627 OVI arrests on St. Patrick’s Day from 2017 to 2021.

“We want all motorists to plan ahead before they start celebrating, and St. Patrick’s Day is no exception,” said Colonel Richard S. Fambro, Patrol superintendent. “St. Patrick’s Day is synonymous with consumption of alcohol, which makes impaired driving enforcement during the holiday a priority for our troopers so that everyone remains safe.”

In the last five years, impaired driving accounted for 252 crashes on St. Patrick’s Day.

As always, motorists are encouraged to dial #677 to report drug activity or impaired drivers.

Additional state officials are also encouraging safe celebrations on St. Patrick’s Day, specifically addressing establishments that serve alcohol. As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, agents with the Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU) and officials with the Ohio Division of Liquor Control (DOLC) want to make sure this is a safe holiday.

“Patron safety should always be the top priority of any liquor permit premise,” said OIU Enforcement Commander Eric Wolf. “Patron safety starts with vigilant staff.”

Liquor permit establishments should ensure:

• Staff is properly checking identifications to verify the customers are 21 or older, not just at the door, but at the point of sale;

• Intoxicated patrons are not served;

• Staff watch for anyone attempting to tamper with drinks; and,

• Staff and patrons are not bringing illegal drugs into their establishments or adjacent sidewalks and parking lots.

“St. Patrick’s Day makes for a very busy time for liquor permit establishments,” said Jim Canepa, DOLC Superintendent. “Selling liquor responsibly is of the utmost importance, and we know liquor permit holders and staff take their responsibility seriously to follow the law to keep their customers safe.”

Keeping patrons safe and ensuring they are not overserved should not stop at St. Patrick’s Day. College basketball fans will be crowding Ohio sports bars to watch hours of tournament action.

In addition, Ohioans are encouraged to come up with a game plan for a successful night out to their favorite bars and restaurants. Those out celebrating are encouraged to drink plenty of water and eat food before a night out that involves drinking, as well as use a designated driver, public transportation, taxi or a ride-share service to get home safely.

In the case that an individual has been overserved, state officials suggest bar staff ask themselves these questions before taking an order for the next drink:

• Is the individual able to stand and carry on a conversation without slurring words?

• Has the person ordered or been served multiple drinks within a small amount of time?

• Has the person become irritable and begun causing problems?

• Is the person having difficulty drinking beverages, resulting in spillage?

Liquor permit holders or staff who want to make sure they are educated on the most up-to-date rules and regulations on the sale and handling of alcohol should take OIU’s Alcohol Server Knowledge (ASK) program. The ASK program is available in person and online. Both are free for all participants. The online class can be found by logging onto https://learning.dps.ohio.gov/ask.

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