ELK GROVE (CBS13) — Elk Grove police officers on Thursday night were checking cars and looking for drivers who might be under the influence this St. Patrick’s Day.

“It’s a drinking holiday and the fact that we’ve been shut down for a couple of years, tonight a night that things are open, it has potential to be a really bad night,” said Lori Bergenstock, MADD program coordinator.

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Trying to get intoxicated drivers off the roads has extra meaning for these Elk Grove officers — one of their own, Ty Lenehan was killed by a driver suspected of being drunk just two months ago. It was the department’s first line of duty death.

Kate Sherfey’s mother, Mona, was killed in 2009 by a driver under the influence. Now she’s here at a checkpoint in the city trying to educate others about the dangers of driving drunk.

“I’m all for going out having fun,” she said. “I just ask that you have a plan.”

It comes at a time when fatal DUI rates are rising. Last year, there were 27 DUI-related manslaughter cases in Sacramento — that’s more than twice as many as the previous year.

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“Nobody thinks it’s going to happen to them. ‘I’m only a couple miles from home. I’ve only had a couple beers,’ ” Bergenstock said.

So how can people have fun and still get home safe?

“It’s really ridiculous because there’s absolutely no reason these days to be out on the roads when you’re under the influence,” Bergenstock said. “There’s Uber, there’s Lyft, there’s cabs.”

Lenehan likely would have been working this checkpoint if he were still alive. Now, these officers and volunteers hope this type of enforcement and education will help prevent any more DUI-related tragedies.

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“He’s a hero he’s a lifesaver and he should still be here,” Sherfey said of Lenehan.