Police to step up DUI patrols

Mary Beth Cooper

If you plan to drink on New Year’s Eve, the Woodford County Sheriff’s Department wants you to plan something else — your ride home. Otherwise, you may take a ride to a destination that’s anything but festive.

 “Our road deputies are going to be actively looking for the signs of intoxicated motorists. And they will be making arrests,” said Captain Matt Smith.

To make sure that roads are safe, the department may even add extra law enforcement.

“Generally on New Year’s Eve we will put on extra patrols and sometimes put on extra staff in the jail,” Smith said.

The ultimate decision as to whether extra staff is added is up to Sheriff Jim Pierceall.

“A lot of that is budgetary,” Smith said.

Area police want party goers to remember that the ultimate reason for stepped up security on New Year’s Eve is to protect lives.

“The main thing is not to get a DUI arrest but to prevent any type of tragic accident,” said Metamora Police Chief Mike Todd.

One person’s festivities can lead to another person’s funeral, according to Todd.

“Usually the innocent victim has to end up paying the price from what somebody considers a night of fun. Somebody’s celebration under those circumstances ends up costing an innocent person their life,” Todd said.

These types of accidents can often be prevented with smart planning.

“If you are drinking, have a preplanned designated driver before you go out,” Smith said.

In addition, make sure your driver actually stays sober.

“Don’t get into a car with somebody who has been drinking,” Smith said.

Also remember to take keys from impaired friends who try to drive.

“You need to do your best to convince that person that they shouldn’t drive,” Smith said.

If you are unsure as to how to get home, make the decision to stay where you are.

“If you’re going to a friend’s house stay at the friend’s house,” Smith said.

For those who want to avoid the hassle of designated drivers, party plans can include hotels.

“Maybe not in Woodford County, but there are a lot of hotels that will give you rates. They will have a New Year’s Eve party and then you can spend the night,” Smith said.