» By ERICKA CONLEY – econley@my.apsu.edu

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by people wearing green and gold colors, lest they be pinched, but another prominent side of these celebrations is heavy drinking and unruly behavior. During this holiday, there will be many people out and about, and things can easily get out of hand.

According to Jim Knoll, Clarksville Police Department Public Information Officer, statistics show an increase in car crashes involving alcohol around St. Patrick’s Day.

This poses a threat and concern to not only celebrators, but to unsuspecting bystanders or motorists.

“Take responsibility to ensure your safety and those who may be affected by your actions,” Knoll said. “Alcohol related offenses can affect you and others for a lifetime, so don’t let short term enjoyment create lifelong consequences.”

APSU is a dry campus, which means no alcohol is permitted on campus. “In the event we encounter students drinking on campus, our approach would be to refer individuals to the Dean of Students, Greg Singleton, for university discipline. If the violator was operating a vehicle, the appropriate criminal charges would be brought to bear,” said Carlton Little, Lieutenant/Standards &Training officer at APSU.

Little also said there will be no increased staffing on campus during this coming St. Patrick’s Day weekend. In his two years here, Little said, he has not had any problems with the holiday or seen any increase in DUIs on campus.

Knoll gave some important safety advice. “Plan ahead of time for your celebration, whether it is in a commercial establishment or private residence. Try to limit the necessity to travel from place to place. If travel is necessary, make arrangements for a safe mode of transportation which does not involve operating a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol,” Knoll said.

There will not be any additional public transportation St. Patrick’s Day weekend from the Clarksville Police Department or Clarksville Transit System.

“If alcohol will be a part of your celebrating, have a designated driver and give them your car keys before the partying begins, arrange for a cab [or] public transportation, contact a friend or stay where you are. Don’t get behind the wheel or leave the establishment if you are alcohol impaired,” Knoll said.

Knoll also advises any suspected drunk driving should be reported to local law enforcement immediately.

“Be assured, law enforcement will be out in force to ensure citizen safety on the roadways in the communities. We will have zero tolerance for impaired drivers or disruptions to the safety and welfare of patrons in establishments or on the roadways,” Knoll said.

It is hard to predict what type of activities will take place and where the worst places will be for offences, Knoll said.

He went on to say local businesses have an obligation to be vigilant for those who consume alcohol in excess and stop serving patrons or guests who are extremely intoxicated. TAS