Tulsa Police, Troopers Hit The Bars New Years Eve

Saturday, January 1st 2011, 1:53 pm
By: News On 6

Lacie Lowry, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- House parties, family get togethers and packed bars were ways many celebrated the new year, and those pubs were the focus of police visits over New Year's Eve.

Blue Dome District bars were packed with people Friday night, and several law enforcement agencies teamed up to make sure those bars and patrons followed the rules.

Police, state troopers and agents with the Alcoholic Beverage Law Enforcement Commission hit the bars. Not to celebrate the New Year, but to look for drunk people.

"What we do is we go inside the bars and look for people who have obviously had too much to drink. We'll interview them, ask if they have a ride home. If they don't have a ride home then they are going to jail," said Senior Agent Pete Heist, ABLE Commission.

After 21 years on the job, you get a knack for what to look for.

"The ones we look for are the ones that are falling down, the loud ones, the obvious ones that are going to cause some problems later on in the night," Heist said.

The idea is to stop drunk driving and possible car crashes before drivers even get the chance to get behind the wheel.

"You have a lot of professional partiers," said OHP Trooper Chris West.

West was looking for drunk drivers in between bar checks.

"On New Year's Eve, we see a lot of traffic going up to 4, 5, 6 in the morning. It's not uncommon to work a DUI crash at 6 or 7 o'clock in the morning," West said.

Bars are a common destination on one of the biggest party nights of the year. A common question agents get is, can't I be drunk if I'm in a bar?

"We get that a lot. No, it is against the law to be drunk and intoxicated in a public place in Oklahoma, so the only place you can legally do it is inside your house," Heist said.

All the bars News On 6 visited with the team were safe and no one got busted for being drunk.

"Make it safe, make sure you got a designate driver tonight. We'll be in the bars from here until two, three in the morning," Heist said.

The teams did bar checks until midnight and then the state troopers switched to DUI enforcement on the interstate while police and ABLE agents continued the bar stings.

12/28/2010 Related Story: Green County Agencies Take New Approach In Holiday DUI Crackdown