Police focus on drunk drivers on St. Patrick’s Day

Thomas Douty

Area law enforcement officers involved in the Nighttime Concentrated Alcohol Patrol cracked down on drinking and driving on St. Patrick’s Day.
According to Minnesota State Patrol statistics, the evening of focused traffic enforcement in Minneapolis resulted in 371 vehicle stops. Of those, 296 people received tickets or were arrested.
Included in the citywide figures were 41 stops by the University Police’s NightCAP officer.
“Anytime you can get a number of officers to focus on drinking and driving and traffic violations, I think it’s a good thing,” said University Lt. Mike Listul.
He said all police departments struggle with maintaining traffic enforcement.
“That’s the focus of ‘Safe and Sober,’ to make the contact and to let people know we’re out there,” Listul said.
The Minneapolis NightCAP operation, which consisted of 24 officers performing only traffic stops, arrested 15 people for driving while intoxicated.
The officers involved did not respond to any other calls, instead they concentrated on stopping as many drivers violating equipment and moving regulations as possible.
Campus events, such as the Minnesota state girls basketball tournament, also kept the University police department busy. Listul said there were 12 University officers assigned to cover events in addition to the seven officers normally scheduled to patrol the campus.
Listul said he was also happy to hear several of the people pulled over were designated drivers; a sign that people might be catching on.
University Police plan to host a NightCAP operation for April’s Spring Jam festivities hosted by the University’s greek community and several student groups.

In other police news:
ù Three residents at a University sorority interrupted a burglary when they returned home Saturday night.
College of Liberal Arts student Nicole Clay of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority on 10th Avenue Southeast walked into her second-floor room to find an unknown person going through her desk drawers.
According to police records, the resident confronted the suspect, who ran past her and down another hallway. The suspect fled the house with the wallet of another resident, CLA student Carolyn Ramus, and $155 in cash.
The burglar was preparing to leave with two laptops from the house before the women returned home.

Thomas Douty covers police and courts and welcomes comments at [email protected] He can also be reached at 627-4070 x3233.