Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The pub crawls began early for many celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Minneapolis.
Area pubs, especially ones with an Irish theme, were flooded with people eager to enjoy the summer-like temperatures Saturday. In response, police kept an extra eye out for impaired people on roads and sidewalks.
Minneapolis police officer Jeff Hall was one of a dozen officers on foot Saturday night keeping an eye on party-goers in downtown Minneapolis.
“Traffic enforcement on a night like tonight, it gets to be pretty tough,” Hall said. “There is going to be so many people down here; a lot of us are going to be on foot.”
Hall said an issue on party nights is that people get really drunk and lose their friends. He also said inebriated people sometimes walk into traffic.
Police are also looking out for those who prey on those who’ve had a lot to drink, Hall said.
Hall believes signs warning people about beefed up enforcement has many planning ahead. Some take cabs, have a sober driver or find a hotel room.
“It’s when they leave town … they have to worry about highway patrol and other agencies,” Hall said.
Minnesota State Patrol had extra officers on duty Saturday. Last year, police arrested 35 people for driving under the influence. About half were in the metro area.
Because of the unseasonable temperatures, it’s hard to tell if police will deal with more or less impaired drivers this year.
Minneapolis police said they do not have many arrests on St. Patrick’s Day and have had little to no violent crime on this night.