KC police, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office team up for saturation patrols on ‘Drinksgiving’

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City Police and the Jackson County Sheriff's Office were out on patrol Wednesday night, looking for drunk drivers as the holiday weekend begins.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving has been called "Wild Turkey Wednesday," "Drinksgiving" and "Blackout Wednesday" because of the increasing frequency of people gathering at bars.

Stephany Tiger spent her first night before Thanksgiving out in Westport. But she said there's no way she'd be drinking and driving.

“It hits a little close to home. I’ve had my brother and my dad pass away because of drunk drivers," Tiger said.

The number of fatal drunk driving crashes rose from 2015 to 2016 despite the rising popularity of ride share programs like Uber and Lyft.

Before the officers headed out for those saturation patrols, they heard from a MoDOT employee and former Belton police officer as he held up his cousin Jimmie Barnes' picture.

“I dealt with drunk drivers all the time, but whenever he got killed, it got personal -- real personal," said Mike Davis, speaking as a representative of MADD.

Barnes was killed in 1991 by a drunk driver while travelling to a game with his soccer teammates. Davis, now a law enforcement liaison, said he just wanted the officers to remember why they are on patrol.

“They are here to make streets safer. It’s not about making arrests at all but getting the message out that we are out here to keep drunk drivers off the road," Davis said.