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Police scaling up enforcement around Ottawa over St. Patrick’s Day weekend

This supplied image shows Ottawa police officers conducting R.I.D.E. checkpoints. The police service holds the roadside sobriety testing program several times a year and will do so over the 2019 St. Patrick's Day weekend.
This supplied image shows Ottawa police officers conducting R.I.D.E. checkpoints. The police service holds the roadside sobriety testing program several times a year and will do so over the 2019 St. Patrick's Day weekend. Ottawa Police Service

As St. Patrick’s Day and all the events that tend to accompany the holiday inch closer, Ottawa police say they will beef up enforcement in two Ottawa neighbourhoods and set up roadside sobriety checkpoints across the city throughout the weekend to make sure people are celebrating responsibly.

There will be a “large and sustained” police presence to keep drinking and parties in check in the ByWard Market downtown and the Sandy Hill neighbourhood on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Ottawa Police Service said.

READ MORE: What to do in and around Kingston for St. Patrick’s Day

The decision to beef up the number of officers patrolling the ByWard Market and Sandy Hill was based on the history of incidents and previous calls to police in those areas, Ottawa police spokesperson Const. Amy Gagnon said.

The ByWard Market is home to a number of bars and pubs — many host St. Patrick’s Day events — while Sandy Hill often sees a lot of student parties, due to its proximity to the University of Ottawa campus.

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Gagnon said community police officers have been door-knocking ahead of the weekend, encouraging residents to respect bylaws and laws regarding noise, underage drinking, public intoxication, open alcohol in public places, trespassing and property damage.

WATCH (Mar. 10): Toronto celebrates St. Patrick’s Day a week early
Toronto celebrates St. Patrick’s Day a week early
Toronto celebrates St. Patrick’s Day a week early

Police and bylaw officers will be out patrolling together throughout the weekend, Gagnon said.

If residents need to report a non-life threatening or non-urgent situation to police, they’re encouraged to call 613-236-1222 ext. 7300. Residents who want to make a noise complaint can also call 311, Gagnon added.

In any emergency situation, call 911.

Police to conduct RIDE checkpoints throughout weekend

Ottawa police on Thursday also gave a heads-up that traffic services officers will be conducting a R.I.D.E. program across the city throughout the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, beginning Friday with the “end of the week drinks/dinner crowd.”

“We are giving the public advance notice of our enforcement plan to discourage anyone from driving impaired in the first place,” Traffic Acting Sgt. Christie Cacchione said in a news release on Thursday. “Let’s make this a safe and fun weekend for everyone on the roads and our local snowmobile trails.”

READ MORE: Montreal’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade returns to its roots for 2019

Police said they will also monitor alternate routes near R.I.D.E. checkpoints and to keep an eye out for drivers and snowmobilers “who may be avoiding the checkpoint.”

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If you can’t drive yourself home due to alcohol or drug consumption, take public transit, order a cab, use a ride-sharing service or stay at a friend’s house, police recommend.

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