With St. Patrick’s Day coming up on Saturday, Missoula Police will be scheduling extra patrols to ensure that people don’t drink and drive as they celebrate.

Police spokesman Travis Welsh said safety is their number one priority no matter what holiday is being celebrated.

“St. Patrick’s Day can be a fun and enjoyable holiday for everyone, and we want it to stay that way,” Welsh said. “Part of the celebration often includes consuming alcohol, and unfortunately some people who consume alcohol then decide to get behind the wheel, so we want to inform people that we’ll be out there to help prevent accidents and try to help insure that people can enjoy it safely.”

Welsh said there will be more than just extra patrol cars on the road for St. Patrick’s Day.

“We will have extra officers out specifically DUI enforcement,” he said. “We will also have officers out walking foot beats in the downtown area with that goal in mind,” he said. “It’s to try to keep people who have been drinking from getting behind the wheel, and to prevent other activities that can accompany alcohol, like disturbances, assaults and those types of things.”

Welsh said there are no exceptions when someone is pulled over for DUI. If arrested, they will go to jail, and if convicted of a DUI, the costs involved can be in the thousands of dollars, including being booked into the Missoula County Jail. There can be other repercussions as well, including loss of a driver’s license or even loss of a job for someone who drives for a living.

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