Public intoxication stings will not take place in Lubbock tonight or this weekend. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has temporarily suspended its own program. Thursday's announcement comes just one week after a state commission announced an internal investigation. NewsChannel 11's Jennifer Vogel has been following this story and has the latest.
The suspension actually came down because of pressure from state legislators. A state representative from Palmview in South Texas asked for the suspension until after the TABC's hearing coming up this Monday.
The way the public intoxication sting worked was, undercover agents would go into bars and arrest people that were drunk. Lubbock had an undercover sting last fall. The stings have recently gained national attention because some people do not agree with agents arresting people in public bars. Local bars said they appreciate law enforcement helping out, but employees are trained to deal with those situations.
Brent Murray, the owner of Melt says, "We have a policy. We don't serve intoxicated patrons. So if we feel somebody's getting out of control and drunk, we make sure to cut them off and offer them water or some food and also offer them a cab ride home. If they still refuse a cab ride home from us, we're supposed to notify authorities, and we do."
The hearing is scheduled this Monday where a commission will look at the internal investigation findings and see if this program should be suspended indefinitely. Bar owners in the depot district tell us they have seen an increased number of public intoxication arrests since the stings started. We did contact TABC, and they said they are preparing a comment that they will have for us on Friday.
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