People Get Drunk to Help Police in Lycoming County

WILLIAMSPORT – Every year, Williamsport Bureau of Police helps host a field sobriety class for officers across Lycoming County. The volunteers who sign up to help get to drink for free.

Courtney Coulter was drinking enough alcohol with her new friends at the armory in Williamsport to feel a buzz.

"(I’m feeling) very good,” said Coulter.

A few cups later, Courtney was surrounded by police officers doing her best to act sober.

Don't worry, Courtney and her new friends are not in trouble. Everyone at the armory in Williamsport already knows they've been drinking because they are volunteer drinkers. The bartenders are Williamsport police officers.

"All right, take a deep breath in and keep going until you hear a click,” said one officer.

Every year, officers from around Lycoming County take a class to learn how to properly administer field sobriety tests. Thanks to Courtney and the other volunteer drinkers, the officers can practice the field sobriety tests in a safer setting.

"Do I think I can drive? No. No. Nobody wants to see that happen," said Coulter.

Normally walking a straight line, heel to toe should be pretty easy, but after putting alcohol into the mix, it can become difficult.

"It was really hard. I didn't think it was going to be that hard, but it was really hard," said Coulter.

While this class is meant to help the officers, instructors do see the drinkers learning some tips of their own.

"So many people don't take drinking seriously. They don't think that they go out to the bar, they have one or two drinks and they drive home. That's a really big deal,” said Coulter.

A new group of volunteer drinkers will be there on Thursday, as the class continues in Williamsport.

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