Warwick Police offering St. Patrick's Day safe rides program
By: Rebecca Turco
WARWICK, R.I. – Warwick Police are on a mission to make no DUI arrests this Saint Patrick’s Day.
For the third year, the department is running a safe rides program through the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association. Volunteers will drive city residents home, no questions asked. "It's good that they do it versus a uniformed police officer, so any stigma of enforcement is not there," explained Captain Rick Rathbun.
Saint Patrick's Day is one of the busiest nights for drinking and driving. "That decision [to drink and drive], split second as it may be, can impact the entire community and their lives for long beyond that evening,” said Rathbun.
Warwick Police have made 71 DUI arrests in the past year, according to police, and three of the last four deadly accidents were because of drunk drivers.
The department is also banding together in a task force with surrounding agencies hoping to catch drunk drivers by mploying the BAT Mobile as well as added patrols.
So authorities say don't press your luck this Saint Patrick's Day. "Our message is very, very simple: Drive sober or we will pull you over," said retired Col. Richard Sullivan, the RIDOT Law Enforcement Liaison.
Last year, volunteers offered six safe rides home. Organizers are hoping more people take advantage of the program this year. It runs Friday night from 6 to midnight. Residents can call 401-468-4200 to request a free ride.