Police ready extra patrols for busy holiday weekend

Posted at 11:45 PM, Mar 16, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-16 23:59:17-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR)- The VCU Rams take on Big Ten opponent Indiana Saturday night, with a trip to the Sweet Sixteen on the line.

Students and fans will be watching the game wherever they can.

But the game’s not the only event going on.

St. Patrick’s Day in the Richmond area will be busy.

And that could mean area bars will see a lot of business.

"I'm Officer Sandy with Henrico Police," is the conversation starter one motorist hears as the sun sets over Henrico’s West End.

"The reason why I'm stopping you is because you have a brake light out."

Officers are preparing for what will almost certainly be a busier weekend than usual.

"St. Patrick's day weekend,” said Lt. A.J. Gordon.  “We are looking for impaired drivers to take off the streets and keep drivers safe."

Scenes like a deadly DUI in Richmond about a month ago, have a somber, even yes, a sobering effect on the officers who have to work the call.

That’s why patrolling officers like Karig Sandy look for speeders, and ask questions.  “Where are you coming from?” asks Sandy.  “The horse betting place,” is the response.  “Have you had anything to drink?”

Sometimes such queries yield confessions.

"I know I ran the red light,” said one motorist.  “I'm just in a hurry."

And of course it’s not only St. Patrick’s Day.  It’s also bracket-busting day for VCU fans.  Bar hopping will be a form of exercise.

That’s why police say save some money to catch a cab, because if you drink and drive, you’re asking for a fast break to jail.

"DUI is something you carry for life. It results in a criminal arrest,” said Gordon.  “It's always on your record and fines start at $2500 and include a year in jail."