St. Patrick's Day means busy day for bars and police departments - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

St. Patrick's Day means busy day for bars and police departments

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

St. Patrick's Day is the busiest day of the year for many Eastern Iowa bars. It's also one of the busiest days of the year for some police departments.

In fact, several agencies request grants throughout the year to pay for extra officers on certain days to prevent alcohol-related accidents.

 Bars with an Irish theme, like Dublin City Pub in Cedar Rapids, don't even have to advertise before the holiday. The crowds just show up.

"It is the busiest day of our year," said Connie Mochal, Manager at Dublin City Pub. "We look forward to it all year long. It's what we wait for the whole year long just to make everything come together."

Mangers say staff members work to prevent people from being over served.

"Our bouncers are here to help control the crowd and look out for people that are overly intoxicated and not let them in the building.," said Mochal. "Everyone knows to keep an eye out on how much the customers are drinking. We try to do everything to make it a fun and safe holiday for everybody."

A lot of people on St. Patrick's Day said that they planned to take a cab home but for those that decide to drink and drive, Cedar Rapids police have extra officers on the street ready to hand out OWI's.

"Through our experience we know there's going to be a lot of drunks out, lots of people that may be inclined to possibly get behind the wheel so we're there to stop that," said Robert Collins, Cedar Rapids Police Sergeant.

A grant from the Iowa Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau allows them to have extra officers work holidays with the sole goal of traffic enforcement.

"Drunk drivers kill way too many people," said Collins. "That's the ultimate goal here is to stop that and to also send that message that if you drive drunk we will catch you and arrest you."

Cedar Rapids police wouldn't say how many extra officers were working on St. Patrick's Day, but throughout the year the grant pays for about 800 hours of labor.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 700 people died in crashes involving drunk drivers between 2006 and 2010.

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