Saratoga County

Police in Saratoga County plan for mid-week St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day falls in the middle of the week this year, which may cut down on the number of


St. Patrick’s Day falls in the middle of the week this year, which may cut down on the number of people driving drunk that night.

Police think some of the traditional party action may simply shift to the weekends.

Law enforcement agencies in the county plan to spread out their anti-drunken driving activities to include the weekends before and after the March 17 holiday, using county STOP-DWI funding.

“St. Patrick’s Day is always a pretty good day to do it,” said county STOP-DWI Coordinator Bob Murphy.

Murphy has authorized money for additional DWI patrols by the county Sheriff’s Department and local police, and is encouraging them to increase patrols on the weekends surrounding St. Patrick’s Day, especially the weekend before.

The annual celebration of Irish heritage — and a holiday often associated with exuberant drinking — this year will fall on a Wednesday.

But Murphy said some of the organizations that hold large private St. Patrick’s Day parties will probably do it the weekend before, rather than hold a big weeknight party.

“There’s a lot of parties the Friday and Saturday before,” he said.

As it has in recent years, the Niskayuna-headquartered regional law firm Martin, Harding and Mazzotti will also be offering free rides home, no questions asked, for those who drink too much on St. Patrick’s Day itself.

Saratoga Springs police, meanwhile, are talking with state police about a possible large-scale sobriety checkpoint in the city the weekend of March 19, said Sgt. Andy Prestigiacomo, head of the city’s traffic safety unit.

It is well-recognized that people travel to Saratoga Springs for its bar and party scene, and such large-scale checkpoints are held periodically. The last one was in August. The Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department routinely holds sobriety checkpoints one or two places in the county every weekend, said Chief Deputy Edward Rooney. It will do them on the weekends around St. Patrick’s Day, at locations to be determined.

This past weekend, Rooney said, sobriety checkpoints were set up in Ballston and Milton, and each led to one DWI arrest.

The last county-wide crackdown funded from STOP-DWI funds was held the weekend of the Superbowl, Feb. 5-7. Murphy said he doesn’t have full reports from all participating agencies, but he believes about a half-dozen drunken driving arrests were made that weekend.

The county’s annual STOP-DWI budget is about $392,000. The money comes from fines paid by people convicted of drunken driving-related offenses.

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