The Orange County Sheriff's Department gets a jump on St. Patrick's Day tonight with its DUI Task Force holding a DUI/driver's license checkpoint from 6 p.m. through 2 a.m. Saturday somewhere in the city of Mission Viejo.
Meanwhile, on the coast, Laguna Beach Police conduct "saturation patrols," which put extra cop cruisers on streets known for tipsy drivers, from 6 p.m. Saturday through 3 a.m. Sunday.
"DUI checkpoints have been an essential part of the phenomenal reduction in DUI deaths that we witnessed since 2006 in California," says Sgt. Yvonne Shull of the sheriff's Traffic Bureau in the operation's announcement. "But since the tragedy of DUI accounts for nearly one third of traffic fatalities, Orange County needs the high visibility enforcement and public awareness that checkpoints provide."
Funding for the sheriff's checkpoint and Laguna Beach patrols are provided by grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. You're encouraged to dial 9-1-1 if you spot a drunken driver.
Through this evening, this post will be updated with details on other anti-DUI operations around Orange County as they trickle in, but be aware law enforcement agencies might spring more on motorists up through late Monday (and even the wee hours of Tuesday).
Another alcohol-related operation that may be taking place in Orange County this weekend involves the sale or shadow purchases of beer, wine and booze to underage drinkers. Law enforcement agencies throughout California are participating in "Operation Shoulder Tap," which runs all day and night Saturday.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.