Texas Arresting Bar Patrons for Being Drunk in the Bar
The program began years ago, but during the most recent legislative session, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission asked for and received more money to ramp up the operation.
As a result, the TABC hired 100 agents to travel from bar to bar looking for drunk people who could pose a danger in an agent's opinion.
TABC officials said the program is proactive policing to cut back on drunken driving, but those arrested said it is unfair to arrest someone inside of a bar.
One bar owner, who asked NBC 5 not to use his name for fear of retaliation by the TABC, said those arrested were not causing a disturbance.
"I can understand if we had somebody laying in a booth and they were basically passed out and drunk, I could understand for them to go in with the flashlights and take them out of the booth and arrest them, but these people were standing and doing fine," he said. . . .
UPDATE: I just heard on Fox News tonight that some of the people arrested where arrested in hotel bars and they were staying at the hotel! They also mentioned that over the last two months some 2,000 people have been arrested in bars.
See also this piece from the Dallas Morning News:
In case you hadn't heard, you can't get wasted in a Texas drinking hole these days without fear of going to jail.
And your bartender might be hauled off with you.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is cracking down on public intoxication by going right where you'd expect to find somebody who may have had one too many – bars and nightclubs.
Apparently, the agency loves to shoot fish in a barrel.
Jokes aside, the campaign has caused a public uproar the likes of which I haven't seen around these parts in quite some time.
Within hours after The Dallas Morning News wrote about the crackdown, dozens of e-mails came pouring in yesterday against the TABC.
Folks are outraged, accusing the TABC of "Gestapo-like" practices, of trying to usher in a new era of alcohol prohibition, of being too lazy to go after drunks causing real problems.
Those were the nicer ones.
The TABC's district offices have been flooded with calls across the state.
Still, the agency isn't backing down. Capt. David Alexander, the man in charge of the North Texas region, said he isn't the least bit embarrassed by all the national attention the campaign is drawing.
"We don't feel embarrassed or ashamed, and we feel like we're making a difference by holding the bars accountable and reducing the potential for DWIs," Capt. Alexander said in a telephone interview, one of the countless media calls he has fielded. . . .
The way the TABC figures it, if it can cut down on the number of tipsy people leaving bars and restaurants, it can reduce the number of DWI-related accidents and fatalities.
That's an admirable goal. Plus, the truth is, public intoxication is illegal, too – and to the surprise of several people I talked to yesterday, bars are public places. Still, you have to draw the line somewhere. . . .