Don't get a DWI this New Year's Eve!


January 2, 2021

by Jeff Olsen

For the first time in ages - unless New Year's Eve falls on a Sunday - all the bars, saloons and pubs are closed, compliments of the governor's executive order.

"It's going to be pretty quiet on New Year's Eve," Roseau County Sheriff Steve Gust said last Saturday afternoon.

"I'm guessing there will be a lot more house parties with no bars open."

Have more deputies patrolling?

"No, every day we have somebody on," he said, adding that drinking and driving is trending down in the county.

"For the last seven or eight years, they have been doing better. They are now having house parties, and that's a good thing. Or, the bars are finding rides for those that need them," he said, adding that Gene's Bar had their own car giving people rides home.

"That's worked out nicely. For the most part, it's been pretty good. People aren't taking the risk anymore."

He added that the party-goers out in the rural areas are taking a big risk by drinking and driving.

He doesn't want to see anybody in jail or in a car wreck. Neither option is preferable since violators will end up in court and be charged with various DWI counts.

"It's a rarity that you're not represented by an attorney or a public defender on a DWI charge," he said.

People should be advised that there will be deputies patrolling Roseau County on New Year's Eve.

"We're not putting extras out. We never have," he said. "I tell my guys, 'Don't be hiding in the shadows. I don't want that.' If you drive by the bar, that's fine. Just don't make a habit of acting like you're harassing them."

The sheriff mentioned that his deputies do occasionally patrol in town.

"We do if we're asked or if we're looking for something to do. We do have bars in the county that we patrol," he said, mentioning Springsteel, the Warroad Eagles, and the bars in Badger and Greenbush.

He has this advice on drinking and driving on any day of the year.

"It's not worth the risk. Period," he said. "Do the right thing versus dealing with us. We don't want to arrest you. Just use your heads and find a ride home, and make it safe for everybody."

Sheriff Gust doesn't play hardball.

"We're not hunting them. That's not our purpose in our job. It's to make sure people aren't being dangerous. If it protects them or keeps them from getting behind the wheel by driving by the bar five times every hour, I guess that might keep them out of the car."

The bars are all closed now, he noted, but the liquor stores are open.

"I don't want to keep anybody from socializing. That's the best part of life," he said. "Just make sure you do it in the right aspect of the law, and be safe."


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