North Texas

Dallas Police Crack Down on Drunk Driving During St. Patrick's Weekend

Dallas police on Thursday night kicked off a four-day initiative to crack down on drunk drivers and put them behind bars quickly.

Meanwhile, Greenville Avenue homeowners are busy putting up no-parking signs and getting ready for this weekend's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Thursday night is expected to be an unusually busy drinking night across Dallas sports bars and restaurants. There are St. Patrick's Day events, along with March Madness basketball games on television.

It means big business but also a lot of drinking.

"It means great profits for us. Everything is selling good this weekend," said John Todora with Greenville Avenue's ParkIt Market.

Todora's hands were stained dark green from all his work dying kegs of beer green with food coloring.

"It takes a few days for it to come off, so that's not fun to deal with," he said. "But green hands means beer keg sales. Green means green."

Todora turned about 25 kegs green for Thursday sales alone.

"Dying the beer green is a messy job, but someone has to do it," he said.

ParkIt Market will sell about 300 more kegs by Sunday night.

"I'm getting two kegs of green beers for my office party. We've invited clients to have a little celebration," said customer Lydia Player, who sells title insurance.

Dallas police want to keep the streets safe. It's a special "No Refusal" weekend, meaning extra magistrates are on hand at the jail to immediately issue warrants for mandatory blood draws.

A few weeks ago, the Dallas Police Department also boosted its DWI squad to 18 officers.

"These officers really are dedicated to watching traffic, watching behavior of vehicles moving, to really looking for signals of a potential DWI driver," said Deputy Chief Scott Walton.

It means quicker arrests and more patrols in busy nightlife districts.

"One of the advantages of having this unit is that if a patrol officer pulls over a driver for suspected DWI, then a DWI squad officer can be called in to take care of it, and that lets our regular patrol officers get back out on the street and patrolling again quicker," Walton said.

Many customers appreciate the seriousness of driving sober, but that doesn't mean they can't celebrate.

"I think that the Uber is one of the greatest things that happened to the St. Patrick's Day parade in Dallas," said beer keg customer Sarah Sullivan. "Everyone's drinking, but it's not okay to drink and drive."

Several other North Texas police departments, such as Irving and Arlington, are also participating in a no-refusal weekend that begins Thursday night.

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