By Susan Tebben
The Mahoning County Operating a Vehicle while Impaired Task Force was in full swing for the festivities Saturday, but didn't see as much action as expected.
The OVI task force conducted sobriety tests and checks of other violations at a checkpoint Saturday while St. Patrick's Day celebrations went on around the city.
“We were surprised; we didn't have as many cars go through and didn't have as many arrests or citations as we would have thought," said Scott Weamer, assistant chief of the Canfield Police Department and member of the task force.
From 10:30 p.m. Saturday to 2:30 a.m. Sunday, officers from the task force collaborated with the Ohio State Highway Patrol to bring cars through a checkpoint on Market Street near Breaden Street.
A total of 564 vehicles passed through the checkpoint, with 19 vehicles directed into a diversion area for further checks, according to task-force statistics.
Only three arrests were made on OVI offenses, along with an arrest on a warrant.
"We're happy with it; we think that means we've made progress," Weamer said.
Other violations were cited during the checkpoint, including three summonses for driving under suspension, three citations for seat-belt violations, one citation for no operator's license, one summons for drug abuse, one summons for drug paraphernalia, two summonses for having open containers of alcohol, one citation for an expired operator's license and one citation for a stop-sign violation.
Fifteen police officers and four state troopers conducted checks.
The work done by the task force is funded through a federal grant administered through the Ohio Department of Public Safety.