Officials ramp up patrols for New Year's Eve
by Michelle Babcock
December 28, 2013 11:00 PM | 1862 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Law enforcement officials across the state are gearing up for New Year’s Eve, planning for safety checkpoints and ramped up patrols.

Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Jay Baker said the Sheriff’s Office is getting ready for the holiday period, which begins at 6 p.m. New Year’s Eve and ends New Year’s Day at midnight.

“The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office Traffic Enforcement Unit will be conducting safety check points over the New Year’s holiday,” he said.

The Sheriff’s Office recorded 11 DUI arrests and no fatalities or serious injuries last year during the New Year’s holiday travel period.

Tracey Watson, spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety, said this year’s holiday travel period can’t be compared to last year’s because there’s a big difference in the timespan.

The 2012 New Year’s holiday travel period lasted 102 hours, compared to a 30-hour travel period this New Year’s holiday.

Last year, during the holiday period that began Dec. 28 and ended Jan.1, Troopers reported two wrecks, 81 warnings and 24 DUI arrests in Cherokee County.

Statewide, Troopers investigated 694 wrecks resulting in 353 injuries and four fatalities, and made 352 DUI arrests, Watson said.

The Georgia State Patrol is also preparing for the 30-hour holiday period, teaming up with local law enforcement for high visibility enforcement patrols that target impaired drivers, as part of “Operation Zero Tolerance.”

Woodstock Police Department spokeswoman Brittany Duncan said local officers are urging residents to avoid driving drunk.

“The Woodstock Police Department encourages all to celebrate responsibly. Plan in advance to have a designated driver. If you feel you are too impaired to drive, do not risk your safety or the

safety of others,” Duncan said.

On New Year’s Eve, the Woodstock Police Department will be offering free rides for residents who find themselves at local establishments on the holiday, and are unable to drive and have no money for a taxi.

“Our Operation Safe Ride program is provided so that citizens can celebrate the holiday in a safe and responsible manner,” she said.

The free rides will be available New Year’s Eve from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., by calling (678) 414-2676.

The Georgia State Patrol is encouraging residents to plan ahead to avoid the dangers associated with driving impaired, and will deploy the Nighthawks unit in full force for the holiday period, bringing out the “most highly trained DUI law enforcement officers in Georgia,” according to GSP.

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