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Police to Chat With Bar Patrons About Effects of Alcohol

The Santa Barbara Police Department will be conducting a Know Your Limit detail, 6-11 p.m. Friday, March 9.

The Know Your Limit team will be operating in the downtown and Funk Zone areas and will visit at least two drinking establishments during that time frame.

The establishments have been contacted and have agreed to partner with the Police Department for the planned event.

The Know Your Limit program entails a police sergeant and four officers periodically visiting various drinking establishments in the early evening hours.

The officers mix and interact with patrons in a friendly, non-threatening way in an effort to educate them on the effect of alcohol on the body.

Officers hand out educational materials that inform about the alcohol content of various drinks, DUI penalties and suggestions for alternatives to driving while consuming alcohol. They also answer questions while interacting with the patrons and staff.

The officers do not ask for identification, but for statistical purposes they do keep records of gender, age and the city of residence of those they contact. Patrons are asked how much they’ve had to drink and if they think they could safely drive.

These patrons are offered an opportunity to test their perception by voluntarily checking their potential impairment with a Preliminary Alcohol Screening Device (PAS).

Anyone with a higher blood alcohol content is shown how easy it is to reach a level that can impair, and are warned not to drive. The program’s primary purpose is to educate drinkers on being responsible.

The Santa Barbara Police Department invites the participation of representatives of community service programs and other agencies such as Alcohol Beverage Control, with vested interest in the goal of reducing DUI drivers, collisions and fatalities.

These exchanges promote learning, the sharing of successful techniques and procedures, and increase teamwork between agencies that have a mutual interest in alcohol-related problems.

The Know Your Limit program has proven an effective way to reach the public; it makes officers more approachable, provides more transparency about how the PAS devices work, and provides a greater impact than past enforcement practices. 

For example, if the Police Department arrests three people in one night, it only affectx those three people. If the department contacts 30 to 50 people in a night, it stands to have a greater impact on reducing DUI deaths and injuries.

In addition, the contacts are positive and a more pleasurable experience for both the citizens and the officers.

Drinking establishments have the added benefit of seeing officers in their businesses more frequently, assisting their employees with education, identifying potential problems and addressing concerns with patrons.

This facilitates communication between officers and business-owners, creating a more comfortable and professional working relationship.

The fact that police officers are interacting more often and more closely with businesses allows them to have a better relationship with the community, to keep abreast of developing trends, and to identify problems earlier.

Funding for the checkpoint is provided to the Santa Barbara Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminding everyone:

Report a Drunk Driver – Call 9-1-1.

— Anthony Wagner for Santa Barbara Police Department.

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