Police want high safety score on Super Bowl Sunday

January 31, 2007|by KAREN HANNA

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Area police agencies will field more officers than usual this weekend with one goal in mind - getting Super Bowl celebrants home safely.

"They'll be looking for just that when the parties are breaking out," Hagerstown Police Department Chief Arthur Smith said. "They'll be cruising around, then looking for drunks."

The Washington County Health Department and police officials, including Smith, advised people planning to drink during Sunday's game between the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears to designate drivers for the after-party ride home.

Smith and Washington County Sheriff's Department Lt. Travers Ruppert said police notice an uptick in accidents and drunken-driving arrests after the Super Bowl. Like the police, the sheriff's department will add extra patrols, Ruppert said.


"You know, people partying, some people tend to consume a little alcohol and try, you know, to drive," Ruppert said. "It's kind of like New Year's, only not as bad."

Four extra police officers will cruise the roads right after the game, which starts at 6:25 p.m., Smith said.

In a press release, the health department advises partygoers to pace their alcohol consumption by eating food and drinking nonalcoholic beverages. People who host parties should stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game, it says.

Even partygoers who stop drinking at the end of the third quarter might be too inebriated to drive, Smith said. People typically need an hour to process each drink they have had, he said.

While Smith said police worry about drivers getting into crashes, he acknowledged most drivers think that never would happen to them. Even getting caught driving drunk can put a game-ending hit on a good party.

"We just think about your safety, and think about how expensive it's going to be to get a DUI on your record," Smith said.

The Herald-Mail Articles