STATELINE (WIFR) – More people are getting caught drinking and driving in Loves Park. Police arrested eight people on DUI charges last weekend alone. Now, an idea in Wisconsin to crack down on drunk drivers is gaining the attention of people here.
The drinks flow easy at the Backyard Grill and Bar in Loves Park, but not for the bartenders. They’re not allowed to drink on the job. But despite what some patrons may think, it’s not against the law.
While bartenders here aren’t legally barred to drink, many local establishments like the Backyard Grill and Bar and B&B Park Lanes tell their bartenders to steer clear of alcohol while on the job for other reasons.
“If your bartender has been drinking and you have an incident in the bar, the insurance won’t cover you,” said Ralph Olson the owner at B&B Park Lanes.
Some Wisconsin cities worry a drinking bartender won’t be able to prevent others from getting behind the wheel after having too many, so they banned bartenders from drinking on the job. Despite being on track to nearly double the number of DUIs this year from 140 to 250, the Loves Park Police Department doesn’t think legislation like that would work here.
“To be frank, you know, we don’t have the resources to go around and do bar checks and make sure the bartenders aren’t drinking,” said Deputy Chief Rodney Scott with the Loves Park Police Department.
The owners of the Backyard Grill and Bar and B&B Park Lanes agree the decision to let bartenders drink should be left up to them, but patrons are split on the idea.
“They won’t be able to tell if they have somebody that’s over intoxicated in the bar,” said one bar patron.
“It’s not the government’s business to be regulating this. We don’t live in Russia, do we?,” said another.
Deputy Chief Scott says he’s never received any complaints about bartenders drinking too much.
Like Loves Park, there’s no specific law forbidding Rockford bartenders from drinking, but Rockford does have an ordinance that bars have to keep an orderly house which was meant to cut down on disorderly conduct complaints.