Saratoga County police agencies will expand their traditional St. Patrick’s Day DWI crackdown to encompass the entire weekend before the Irish holiday, officials said Monday.
Police departments will be given money to pay overtime for DWI patrols starting Friday, March 14, said county STOP-DWI Coordinator Bob Murphy. The holiday this year falls on a Monday, but patrols are expected to extend into Tuesday morning, March 18.
“With St. Patrick’s Day, they celebrate a lot through the weekend,” Murphy said Monday.
The announcement followed what police said was a successful weekend-long crackdown on drunken driving over the Super Bowl weekend. As with St. Patrick’s Day, police were allowed to use STOP-DWI money at times of their choice over a three-day period because of the number of parties that take place the night before the NFL championship game.
In Saratoga Springs, with the county’s highest concentration of bars and taverns, police Sgt. Andrew Prestigiacomo said there were nine arrests that weekend for impaired driving, eight for drunken driving and one for driving under the influence of drugs.
The Sheriff’s Department made one DWI arrest that weekend, while the Ballston Spa Police Department made three arrests.
Officer Rick Schoonmaker of the Galway Police Department said it operated a checkpoint in coordination with the Sheriff’s Department, but found a number of parties had designated drivers to stay sober and drive the drinkers home. “The message is out there,” he said.
“There were a lot of designated drivers, and we’re happy about that,” said Mechanicville Police Chief Joseph Waldron.
Prestigiacomo was also elected new chairman of the county Traffic Safety Committee at a meeting Monday in Ballston Spa. He succeeds Waldron.