Plan ahead: DWI crackdown set for Parade Day

By Kelly McCarthy

February 28, 2014 Updated Feb 28, 2014 at 7:27 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Law enforcement around Broome County will join together for a Parade Day DWI crackdown. Coordinators said they want everyone who plans on attending St Patrick's celebration to have a plan.

St. Patrick's Parade Day is one of the busiest days in downtown Binghamton.

The parade will start on the corner of Court and Fayette Street, and will travel down Court Street until the Main Street and Arthur Street intersection.

The parade kicks off at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, but Broome County's STOP-DWI Coordinator says people will be starting the celebration much earlier.

More than 30 patrol officers from combined law enforcement agencies will focus on drivers’ downtown. A DWI crackdown will look for impaired drivers and people who are under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

One of the unique features of the parade day crackdown is that patrols will start in the early afternoon.

"Most DWI Checkpoints are done in the evening, you'll actually see patrols and check points in the daylight hours because a lot of people start drinking fairly early on parade day especially," said Broome County's STOP-DWI Coordinator Chris Marion, "So you'll actually see patrols during the day which is something we do not typically do."

Checkpoints are not just looking for someone who has been drinking and driving, but also someone who might be under the influence of drugs.

"So if an officer pulls someone over and suspects impaired driving but doesn't detect any alcohol, they'll call one of our drug recognition experts who are on call for that very purpose," Marion said, "And will put the suspected drug-impaired driver through a series of tests, many hours of advanced testing, and will be able to tell now only what time of drug they are on, but how much and how their ability to drive is impaired."

Last year's crackdown led to 14 arrests on Parade Day alone. Marion said arrests started around 2 p.m., and he expects Saturday's crackdown to be just as busy.

People who plan on driving to watch the parade tomorrow are told to leave with plenty of time to find parking.

Many of the side streets will be blocked off along the parade route, so people are suggested to park in one of the available parking garages or plan to do some walking.