Police pushing for designated drivers during St. Patty’s, March Madness celebrations

Posted at 8:50 PM, Mar 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-18 00:53:28-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - From the green beer to the green attire, Saint Patrick's Day celebrations are everywhere on March 17th.

"I love the place, love good food, good atmosphere, and the green beer, of course the green beer," says Janet Labang while sitting at Kelly's Tavern in Norfolk.

However, those celebrations combined with the start of March Madness makes for a busy night, according to Portsmouth Police Officer Cory Petty.

"The chances of you being in a crash tonight, they increase," he says. "Watching the games at the bar, drinking, it makes it even more heightened just because of that fact there."

NewsChannel 3 got to ride along with Portsmouth Police on Thursday afternoon during the calm before the storm.

Master Police Officer Raymond Anderson did not have any major calls during the ride-along, but he says he has seen the worst of St. Patrick's Day in the past.

Three years ago, while responding to a double stabbing, he says the suspect charged him, and he was forced to shoot.

"People unfortunately make us do what we have to do and I wouldn't have wished that on my worst enemy, having to do that, having to pull that trigger," he says.

Still, Portsmouth Police are not asking anyone not to celebrate, just to do so safely.

"Make sure that you at least have a designated driver, that is key," says Officer Petty. "Our patrol guys that are working the street tonight are going to be more vigilant."