St. Patrick’s Day blitz: Sheriff plans extra patrol

Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn announced today that the Wood County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting increased patrol over St. Patrick’s Day.

The blitz will run from Friday through Sunday.

Deputies will pay particular attention for violations, such as driving under the influence, failure to yield, and speeding; all of which are leading factors in fatal crashes. There will be zero tolerance for driving under the influence and seat belt violations.

For more information about the Ohio Traffic Safety Office and statewide efforts to improve safety on Ohio’s roadways, log onto to the Wood County Sheriff’s Office website at http://www.woodcountysheriff.com or the Ohio Traffic Safety Office at http://ohiohighwaysafetyoffice.ohio.gov.

As bars and restaurants prepare for St. Patrick’s Day, and the beginning of the college basketball tournament season, the Ohio Investigative Unit and the Division of Liquor Control remind all those celebrating to do so responsibly.

Follow these tips to celebrate safely and legally:

If you’re 21 and over, drink plenty of water and eat food before drinking.

Drink tampering happens. If you lose sight of your drink, don’t continue to consume it.

Watch out for suspicious behavior and stay together with your group.

Do not furnish alcohol to anyone you know, or suspect, is not 21.

Designate a sober driver, public transportation, or rideshare services to get home safely.

“As St. Patrick’s Day approaches many will gather at local bars, restaurants, and private parties to celebrate,” said OIU Commander Erik Lockhart. “It’s always important to drink responsibly and prevent having to rely on luck to make it home safely. Plan ahead and designate a sober driver beforehand, have rideshare service information available, pair up with friends, and don’t leave alone or with someone you don’t know.”

Liquor permit holders are reminded when there may be additional liabilities and responsibilities to protect their establishments, employees, patrons, and their communities, to consider the following:

Be familiar with Ohio’s laws, rules and regulations involving the sale and handling of alcohol.

Ensure staff is properly checking identifications to verify the customers are 21 or older, not just at the door, but at each point of sale.

Make sure intoxicated patrons are not served. Watch for signs of intoxication to include slurred speech, difficulty making decisions, stumbling, vomiting, changed behavior, loss of consciousness, and delayed reactions.

Do not hesitate to stop serving an intoxicated patron. If you believe a person is intoxicated, ask for assistance and coordinate with management to ensure the patron gets home safely.

Staff should watch for anyone attempting to tamper with drinks.

Be sure that staff and patrons are not bringing illegal drugs into their establishments or adjacent sidewalks and parking lots.

“St. Patrick’s Day and the entire month of March is a reminder for the businesses we license to promote social responsibility with alcohol,” said Jim Canepa, DOLC superintendent. “Overconsumption of alcohol can lead to serious consequences. We strongly encourage consumers and our licensed businesses to celebrate safely and responsibly.”

Consumers who struggle with alcohol abuse can find treatment resources and more at www.mha.ohio.gov/get-help.

Liquor permit holders or staff who want to make sure they are educated on the most up-to-date rules and regulations on the sale and handling of alcohol should take OIU’s Alcohol Server Knowledge program. The ASK program is available in person and online. Both are free for all participants. The online class can be found by logging onto https://oiu.ohio.gov/schools-and-businesses/resources/ask.