Whether it’s the driver ahead of us weaving between lanes or the site of a stumbling pedestrian, we’ve all seen the impacts of alcohol consumption. The city recognizes the significant impact of alcohol consumption on the safety of our residents.
To discourage businesses from selling alcohol to minors, the city council recently updated our Alcohol Beverage Service Ordinance (ABSO). The amended ordinance requires businesses to send their employees to a 4-hour class or face hefty fines. We hope that this increased accountability encourages managers and owners to take alcohol sales to minors more seriously.
I’d also like to highlight the efforts of our Public Safety Department ABSO team. The team conducts several inspections throughout the year of the businesses licensed to sell or serve alcohol. These visits include underage decoy operations, premise inspections and compliance checks. ABSO classes are taught each month and are attended by bartenders, servers, waiters/waitresses, managers and owners. Attendees are informed about the dangers of providing alcohol to minors and are taught how to properly check IDs to detect if they are borrowed or fake.
In addition to the ABSO ordinance and education provided, we hold four DUI checkpoints a year. During 2018, we also conducted 15 Saturation Patrols where officers work an 8-hour shift focused on DUI enforcement. We hope to replicate this again.
We conduct several different types of alcohol education for our young adults. The traffic unit conducts ongoing education with Rancho Cotate High School every year. Officers engage in discussion with students about pedestrian safety, DUI driving and distracted driving.
Every other year the traffic unit conducts a hands-on golf cart experience. Students get the opportunity to drive golf carts and see firsthand the dangers of texting and driving as they navigate through a cone course. During this presentation we allow select students to drive the course while wearing goggles which simulates drunk driving. Students inevitably hit cones providing a real-time example of drunk driving. This is always well received by the students.
Every four years we reenact a DUI collision for high school students by participating in the Every 15 Minutes program, where every 15 minutes during the day a student is taken from a classroom as an illustration of a death due to drunk driving. The program focuses on the impact that their decisions would have on family and friends. It’s a very emotional and enlightening program for everyone involved.
Public Safety Sergeant Dave Sutter works closely with incoming freshman at SSU and talks with them about several topics, one being DUI driving.
The Department of Public Safety recently selected Public Safety Officer Kieran Keaney to serve as our DUI enforcement officer. His primary focus is DUI enforcement and traffic collisions. He will be working Wed.-Sat. from 5 p.m.–3 a.m. PSO Keaney is fantastic at his job and is a great addition to our DUI enforcement and traffic team.
Let’s work together to keep Rohnert Park safe! Please report drunk driving by dialing 9-1-1.