DUI enforcement campaign, patrols begin in King County bars this weekend

SEATTLE – The King County Sheriff’s Office set to begin a DUI enforcement campaign this weekend, starting in the bars where people are drinking. They’re hoping to educate staff and managers serving alcohol about what they can do to prevent impaired drivers from hitting the roadways.

“We have enough stories, we can tell you stories,” said Derrick Griffin, general manager of The Lodge Sports Grille in Seattle's Sodo District.

Griffin said their focus is to prevent ‘stories’ from even getting through the door and getting served more.

“That’s been our best deterrent is making sure that those guests don’t come in at all,” he said. “It’s an expense to have security, but it’s more of an expense to have a fight or us getting a ticket for that over-service.”

In an industry that’s driven by alcohol, law enforcement will be doing their best to drive home the message “Don’t drink and Drive.”

“We’re going to have our deputies out there talking to different businesses that serve alcohol,” said Jessica Santos, a detective with King County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies will start their emphasis patrols in southeast King County.

“If you see somebody who is attempting to drive or somebody who has been overserved and attempting to drive we’re going to give you some information as far as having them call a friend, or call a cab or call a taxi or do whatever measures they can to prevent an intoxicated driver from getting behind the wheel,” said Santos.

If King County deputies do stop impaired drivers, they’ll be asking which bar they were at and following up with that bar to let them know.

Santos called it “closing the circle.”

Griffin said it’s something they are already doing among staff at The Lodge.

“We’re always keeping an eye on how much we’ve served people,” said Griffin. “The bartenders and servers will see if you’re at four or five cocktails in a three hour period we know to either slow them down, get them some food."

From servers to security, The Lodge is working to get patrons home safe and it’s something that law enforcement say should transition from bars to homes as holiday parties become frequent.

Create a game plan for yourself and for your guests, before any party. If someone has had too much to drink, you’ll know how to approach them and suggest a cab. If you suspect someone is driving drunk, Santos said call 9-1-1.

“We’re not asking people to go and nark on their friends or whatnot. We’re asking people to stop getting impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel. We’re asking people to do that in order to save lives,” she said.