Provo police officers increased public safety over the holiday weekend by conducting a St. Patrick’s Day drunk driving blitz on Saturday night.
Fifteen officers patrolling downtown Provo arrested five drunk drivers, issued 11 field sobriety tests and made 71 stops, according to data reported on the Provo Police Facebook page.
Lieutenant Matt Siufanua, the police department’s public information officer, said the blitz is a yearly initiative driven by national drunk driving statistics.
“DUIs tend to increase on St. Patrick’s Day weekend and the day itself,” Siufanua said. “Any time we have a crime statistic like that, it drives us to fix the problem. Our main focus was DUIs, so we made a lot of traffic stops for everything from minor violations to inconsistent driving patterns.”
Prior to the blitz, police officers distributed letters, t-shirts and cupholders to the local bars to promote safe and sober driving.
Kay Van Buren, a member of the Provo City Council, said the DUI initiative is a positive thing for the city.
“Checking for DUIs is a good thing to do any time, but especially during St. Patrick’s Day when drinking is usually increased,” Van Buren said. “Whatever the police department needs to do to get drunk drivers off the road is good for the safety of the citizens of the city.”
Siufanua said the operation, which is in its second year, was considered a success within the department.
“When [we] do an operation like this, it sends the message to people that we’re out and we’re busy,” he said. “We took five drunk drivers off the street in a single night. Think of where those five people were going and the damage that could have been done.”