It’s an uncommon scene, and most of the time people think something is wrong.
When four Tustin police officers walked into the bar on a Friday night, the initial reaction was a raised eyebrow.
But it didn’t take long before people lined up to learn why the police were there — education, not enforcement.
Tustin police held their fourth Know Your Limit campaign Aug. 21 at four local establishments — Godfather’s, Tustin Inn, Ra Sushi and The Auld Dubliner.
The campaign, which Tustin kicked off this year, aims to educate the community on how much, or how little, alcohol it takes before a bar-goer would be over the legal limit.
Know Your Limit started in 2010 in Scottsdale, Ariz. and was first brought to Orange County in 2014 by the Huntington Beach Police Department.
Tustin Police are one of a few agencies in the county that participate in the program.
Patrons volunteer to share how much they have consumed, then blow into a Preliminary Alcohol Screening Device (PAS) that checks blood alcohol levels.
“At the very beginning, everybody is a little nervous and a little stand-offish, but once they see what we’re there for, everyone opens up and everyone wants to do it,” said Motor Officer John Hedges.
Tustin officers talked with more than 60 people during Friday’s event and 35 people participated in the campaign, Hedges said.
Justin Crow said he expected to have a blood alcohol level higher than .025 after two beers and an Irish car bomb shot, but he said no matter the number, he wasn’t driving.
“I have a 19-month-old daughter so drinking and driving just is not an option for me,” Crow said. “I need to be around for her.
“This was really interesting, though. It’s a good thing.”
Sarah Veanda said she knew she’d be beyond the legal limit of .08 and would not be getting behind the wheel.
“I feel fine and I’m talking fine, but I know I’m drunk,” she said, after blowing a .126 — nearly twice the legal limit. “My friend was killed by a drunk driver, so I always take a cab or an Uber, if I’m drinking.”
Hedges said the campaign was well-received in all four establishments and he believes the outreach leaves an impression.
“We’d rather go out and educate 45 to 60 people instead of arrest two or three drunk drivers,” Hedges said. “By doing this we’re contacting a larger number of people, and it’s a positive contact.
“I absolutely think it’s effective.”