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Texas stops arresting drunks in bars
'Operation Last Call' program suspended after public outcry

World Net Daily | April 14 2006

After a series of stories in WorldNetDaily about cops go into bars to arrest drunks – some of whom are guests in hotels who don't plan to drive anywhere – Texas officials responsible for "Operation Last Call" have stopped the controversial practice in the state.

As WorldNetDaily reported, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission along with Irving police arrested some 30 people on charges of public intoxication on a weekend last month during a sweep of 36 area pubs.

The agency called it a proactive measure to slam the brakes on drunk driving, even though some of the suspects arrested at a hotel bar stressed they were registered to spend the night there and were not a danger to themselves or others.

Commission spokeswoman Carolyn Beck said yesterday the agency had "temporarily suspended" the program.

"We understand that everything has room for improvement, this included," she said, according to Reuters.

She told the news service most of those arrested in the sting operations had been "dangerously drunk" and might have tried to drive if agents had not arrested them.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will conduct an internal investigation of Operation Last Call, and a committee of the state legislature is scheduled to hold a hearing on the program Monday.

The Houston Chronicle found that 1,740 people across Texas had been arrested for public intoxication in Operation Last Call.

"Your state sucks!" one woman being arrested in a sting shouted to authorities, as she was caught on camera by KXAS-TV, the local NBC affiliate in Fort Worth.

"Going to a bar is not an opportunity to go get drunk," TABC Capt. David Alexander told the station. "It's to have a good time but not to get drunk."

Regarding laws on public intoxication, Texas statutes say: "Public place" means any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes, but is not limited to, streets, highways, and the common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings, transport facilities, and shops.

As WorldNetDaily previously reported, similar programs have been taking place across the U.S., including Fairfax County, Va., where police have been going directly to bars to arrest people for public drunkenness.

Police target patrons who are suspected of having one too many, taking them outside to administer intoxication tests.

"[Officers] were talking to one of the guests, then physically pulled him off the barstool," said Richie Prisco, general manager at Champps bar. "They were really aggressive and nasty."

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