Spring break, St. Paddy's Day mean increased DUI patrols

- March is a busy month in the sunshine state. 

The beaches are packed with people visiting for spring break and partiers are out this weekend for St. Patrick's Day festivities. But the police are busy, too. 

For the last five-years, more DUI charges have been handed out in March than in any other month of the year.

“We want folks to have a great time, we want them to enjoy our beautiful weather, but we also want them to be safe,” said Corporal Dan DiFrancesco with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

With the St. Patrick’s Day holiday this weekend, officers across the region will out in force and on patrol, looking for drivers showing signs of being impaired.

“Traveling too fast, erratic driving behavior, reckless driver calls that we get from citizens,” St. Petersburg Police Officer Lenard Cox said.

Officer Lenard Cox has been a part of the St. Pete Police DUI Squad for the last eight-years.  He says there’s no excuse for someone to get behind the wheel after having a few drinks or doing drugs.

“To make that decision you can affect so many different people, we don’t want anybody to die or get hurt as a result of a bad decision by someone,” said Cox.

A Wolf Pack operation is being done across Pinellas County this weekend.  Officers from Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, St. Petersburg Police, Kenneth City Police Department, Largo Police, and Tarpon Springs Police Department are teaming up.  They’ll be spreading out and roving around, their eyes peeled for anyone on the roads who not following the traffic laws.

“We will be out there, we’ll be looking for you, and if you’re going to engage in that type of behavior, the deputies are gonna find you and you’re gonna get arrested,” DiFrancesco said.

The Wolf Pack DUI operation kicks off Saturday night.  Last year, during a similar enforcement, officers handed out 125 citations and 32 charges including 14 DUIs.

Officials say if you plan to go out, make sure you have a plan ahead of time for how you’re going to get home.

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