Police outline alcohol sales impact

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ Staff Writer

Sunday alcohol sales wouldn’t drastically affect DWIs in the city and county, law enforcement officials say.

But it could affect other incidents that police and sheriff’s deputies respond to.

“Basically, anytime you have an increase in an area, whether it’s alcohol sales or anything else, you’re going to see some type of result from it,” Clovis Police Chief Dan Blair said.

In the March 4 municipal election, Clovis voters will decide whether to lift a ban on Sunday alcohol sales in bars and restaurants.

But while package and by-the-glass sales of alcohol on Sundays are illegal in Clovis, law enforcement officials say Sundays aren’t exempt from DWIs and DWI-related crashes.

“We make arrests for DWI on Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon, Sunday evening,” said Blair. “So it’s not a day without that; we’ve had serious crashes on Sundays due to DWIs as well.”

In 2006 Clovis Police made 240 DWI arrests, according to the Clovis Police Department. The numbers for 2007 were not available. Curry County DWI Task Force Connie Harrison said the sheriff’s office made 76 DWI arrests in 2007.

But Blair said while DWIs may not increase dramatically, domestic violence calls could rise.

“The majority of our domestic violence calls are alcohol-involved calls,” he said. “And I do think we’ll see an increase there.”

Curry County Sheriff Matt Murray said if the Sunday alcohol sale ban is lifted, it could change how DWI checkpoints are scheduled.

DWI checkpoints are usually located in areas where a majority of alcohol-related crashes and DWI arrests are made, according to Blair.

“It might be a reflection of us doing checkpoints on Sundays with Sunday alcohol sales,” Murray said.