Iowa State Police to promote initiatives against drunk driving Saturday

“Especially early in the [football] season, a lot of people think they can skirt the system and get away with things they are not going to get away with,” said Iowa State police officer Anthony Greiter.

Zach Streuber

Tens of thousands of fans will be filling Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday, marking the beginning of a new football season. From before the first whistle blows to the end of the fourth quarter, the Iowa State University Police Department will be there, helping fans and halting illegal behavior.

However, the police department’s job doesn’t end when the game does.

Anthony Greiter, an outreach officer for the Iowa State Police Department, is hoping the police department’s new drunk driving initiative will help eliminate the number of intoxicated drivers on the road, especially after football games.

On Aug. 17, the Iowa State Police unveiled a new outreach vehicle to the public through Twitter. The vehicle, a squad car made to look like half a taxi, is a message to potential intoxicated drivers.  

The vehicle was released in cooperation with the National Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

 “[Drunk driving] happens every game, without a doubt,” Greiter said. “There’s a lot of alcohol consumed at tailgate lots… and those people have to leave somehow. Whether they are driving or a passenger is a different story, but there are definitely drivers who are too intoxicated to drive. Fortunately we are able to stop that before they get too far many times,” he said.

To continue to provide safety for the tens of thousands of fans, the Iowa State Police Department will be out in full force and will be assisted by the Ames Police Department and the Nevada and Huxley police departments, Greiter said.

“Football games are an interesting beast for us,” Greiter said. “We have all officers working because our community grows dramatically for a short period of time. We have maybe 100,000 people coming to Ames or the Iowa State area for games and we have a crowd of 38 officers that work pretty tirelessly to provide a safe environment for everyone to have fun.”

One hundred thousand people trying to cross streets after the game also adds an additional factor of danger when the driver is drunk, Greiter said.

Saturday, the vehicle will be parked on South 16th Street just inside the drive to Jack Trice. Greiter hopes that this will help to remind fans not to drive home drunk.

“We get a lot of pedestrian traffic there just from the grass tailgate lots that will hopefully draw some attention to the vehicle and we will get some awareness pushed out that we don’t want people going back to their vehicles and driving [if they are intoxicated],” Greiter said. “We’d prefer that they find a safe, sober ride home.”

The unconventional look of the squad car has already caused a lot of interest, Greiter said.

“Having it drive around has got some of the goofiest looks from people and that’s exactly what we want,” he said.

Greiter hopes that the squad car will help people pay attention to the choices going into drunk driving. 

“You need to recognize that you have a choice,” Greiter said. “You can choose to drive drunk and face that possible OWI charge, [the] $11,000 set of fines…or you can choose some sort of paid service.”