CPD: Breathalyzing Bar Patrons is Voluntary - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

CPD: Breathalyzing Bar Patrons is Voluntary

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - We're accustomed to seeing an officer doing a roadside sobriety check but "them coming into bars and giving breathalyzers, that to me almost a civil liberties issue there,' says Mark Dillon, who manages Bud's Sports Bar on Brainerd Road. 

Bud's is one of a number of businesses cited by the Chattanooga Police Department's Special Operations Unit within the past six months for an alcohol related infraction.

Dillon says he has no problem with police doing their job, which at times includes breathalyzing bar patrons.

"If we someone stumbling around and they're obviously impaired, we may ask them to submit to a breathalyzer, a PBT, to get their alcohol level and to see if they're safe to leave in a vehicle and to make sure the bar is in compliance with over serving rules," says Lt. Adrian Gibb of the Chattanooga Police Department.

Bud's was cited after the February DUI arrest of a patron, but it's not the only nightspot caught in the CPD's recent dragnet. 

The Big Chill and Grill on Chattanooga's North Shore has been cited by alcohol agents for over pouring, but owner Scarlett Bowman adamantly tells Channel 3 that contrary to other media reports, her business has never lost its liquor license and they're not planning to anytime soon, as they are appealing the penalty handed down by the Chattanooga Beer Board.

Bud's is appealing it's penalty as well, but Dillon says whether they win or lose, he gets the CPD's message that its all about safety.

" Last year we had a total of 14 alcohol related fatalities and so far this year, we've only had four, so we like to think we're successful," says Lieutenant Adrian Gibb, who heads the Chattanooga Police Department's Special Operations Unit and stresses no bar goer is forced to take the breathalyzer.

Dillon says some of his customers felt intimidated by alcohol regulatory agents.

"I'm not saying they all do that but it does happen, its not a perfect world, its not a perfect situation, but it does happen."

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