Kittery police officers, from left, Jay Durgin, Chief James Soucy, Ben Cyr, Lt. John DesJardins and Robert Byrnes. Credit: Rich Beachesne | Portsmouth Herald

KITTERY, Maine — Local police have rallied a dozen restaurants and bars in town to give a thumbs up to designated drivers.

The Kittery Police Benevolent Association and Police Department launched a designated driver awareness program for June. Participating establishments are the Black Birch, Blue Mermaid, Navy Yard Bar and Billiards, the Pointe, Farm Bar and Grill, Corner Pub, Loco Coco’s Tacos, Maine Beer Cafe, Weathervane Seafoods, Woodland Farms Brewery, Robert’s Maine Grill and Rudders Public House.

During June, designated drivers who identify themselves to their server or bartender will be served free non-alcoholic drinks all night in a Kittery Police Benevolent Association pint glass. The program is the start of an effort by Kittery police to focus on a different community topic each month. Future topics include speed, emergency management and car seats, for example, according to community police officer Brian Cummer, who is spearheading the initiative.

“We decided to start a yearly calendar for the purpose of focusing on individual policing challenges we face,” Cummer said. “The idea was to break down the calendar into 12 topics and using social media and other formats to reach out to the community to provide information on each challenge.”

Cummer said his department decided June would be a good month, leading into summer, to remind people “to have a plan before they go out and enjoy adult beverages.”

“The idea of the designated driver glass is to reward those people who are going along to make sure that their friends are going to get home safe,” he said. ”‘Take care of your friends and they will get you next time’ is sort of the idea.”

Each establishment that agreed to participate did so without hesitation, Cummer said, and many said they’ll decide to offer the glass initiative year round.

“This is truly a partnership that helps to build positive relationships between the police department and the responsible establishments in our community and to keep people safe,” Cummer said.

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