Warwick police offering safe rides on St. Patrick’s Day

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — In an effort to make sure everyone has a safe St. Patrick’s Day this year, police in Warwick are once again offering free rides home to residents.

You’ve heard it many times before: Drive Sober or Get Pulled over. At a news conference Thursday, police officials expressed their frustration that people continue to ignore this simple message and get behind the wheel while intoxicated.

“Unfortunately, St. Patrick’s Day has turned into a very deadly holiday on our roadways,” said Law Enforcement Highway Safety Liaison Col. Richard Sullivan. “If you decide to drink – please do not drive.”

Officials urged revelers to plan ahead on Friday and have a designated driver.

As part of their continued effort to stop drinking and driving, police from several communities and Rhode Island State Police said they’ll be stepping up patrols on area roadways. In addition, the Breath Alcohol Testing Unit – or BAT Mobile – will be deployed to assist officers with arresting suspected drunk drivers.

Warwick police also announced the renewal of their Safe Rides Program. City residents can call police on Friday night and a volunteer will be dispatched to pick you up.

The program hasn’t garnered many phone calls in the past, only six came in last year, but even one is a success, according to police.

“Those six drivers last year were clearly six drivers who made the right decision and didn’t get behind a motor vehicle,” said Warwick Police Capt. Rick Rathbun.

“This whole goal is to keep everybody safe and try to keep any kind of tragic issue down,” added Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian.

To secure a safe, free ride home within the city of Warwick, residents can call (401) 468-4200 between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight on St. Patrick’s Day.

For more information about the program, contact the Warwick Police Department’s Community Policing Unit at (401) 468-4371.