A fleet of decorated St. Patrick's Day "Paddy Wagons" will roam the streets today to take drinking party-goers home as the safety program expands citywide in its fourth year.
Off-duty police officers will drive 17 vans donated by Budget Rent-A-Car, but there is no threat of arrest for those who take advantage of the free program. People wanting a ride home simply telephone their nearest police station. A white van festooned with green shamrocks will respond. The idea is to keep drunk drivers off the road.
"It's a sign of boldness that the LAPD is able to go out and again provide such a great program," Police Chief Willie L. Williams said during a news conference announcing the expanded program.
The St. Patrick's Day program served only the San Fernando Valley in the past.
"On a night like St. Patrick's Day when people party with alcohol, this is a way to help them be responsible," said Jeff Mirkin, president of Budget Rent-A-Car Southern California. "If they've had too much to drink, they can go home in one of these vans and be safe and responsible."