Police issue warning that DUI crackdown starts Tuesday

Be forewarned. If you drink and drive over the holidays, the Columbus Police Department plans to get you off the streets, Maj. J.D. Hawk said Monday.

Starting today, CPD is increasing the number of officers on patrol at night, specifically with an eye toward catching drunk drivers and getting them off the street before they can injure or kill themselves or others, Hawk said.

“With the holiday season comes holiday parties and celebrations,” Hawk said. “We’re giving this warning to the citizens that effective (Tuesday), we are increasing the patrols at night because of the increase in holiday parties.”

In addition to the increased patrols, Hawk said the department is changing some officers’ schedules to focus specifically on DUIs. He also said it is “possible” that police will set up DUI roadblocks.

Hawk said that if residents make plans for getting safely home after a party, there is no reason for them to be arrested. It’s not about making arrests.

“We’re trying to reduce the number of alcohol-related accidents and alcohol-related fatalities that come with the season,” Hawk said. “Before you go out to these parties, you need to consider finding a designated driver, finding a program that will pick you up and take you home, or calling a taxi.”

St. Francis Hospital used to sponsor a program called SafetyCab, which offered people taxi rides to their homes if they were impaired. This year, Bradford Health Services is offering a similar program for impaired drivers who live within the Columbus and Phenix City limits.

The service, called Tipsy Taxi, will pay $29 toward the cost of a cab ride from a restaurant or bar to your home, if you are 21 or older with proper identification. Call 706-649-3075.

Hawk said a good year would be one during which police made no DUI arrests or responded to no alcohol-related wreck. But so far, they’ve never seen such a year.

“We want the citizens of Columbus to have a happy and safe holiday season,” he said.

Original article here: Ledger-Inquirer