BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Many will be celebrating as the clock strikes midnight this New Year's, and local authorities want to remind everyone to do it safely. The Bakersfield Police Department says New Year's Eve is usually one of their busiest holidays of the year, so they're beefing up their force.
"There will be extra officers out for the patrol functions, as far as responding to calls for service or any kind of activities going on there. As well as increased number of traffic units for traffic enforcement, DUI safety," said Seargent Nathan McCauley, spokesman for the Bakersfield Police Department.
BPD says expected DUIs are a big reason why they're stepping up their presence on New Year's Eve. McCauley says even if you yourself aren't under the influence, you should keep your eyes peeled.
"Just be extra aware that there may be people who aren't following the rules and might be out DUI. If you see this please report it to law enforcement. Also just be careful...Pause that extra bit before you start at a green light or a stop sign to make sure the other cars around you are stopping," he said.
AAA is offering it's tipsy tow service to Kern County residents this year. That means they'll take you and your car home for free for the first seven miles. That's available from 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve to 6 a.m. the next morning. Aside from tipsy drivers, BPD also says they're concerned about celebratory gunshots fired in the air.
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"It's an unfortunate thing. It needs to stop. It's something that can be very unsafe throughout our area. We have Shotspotter in a lot of areas too. There will be a volume of these things that will go on, we're hoping that people will listen and hopefully, they won't engage in this kind of activity, but if they do and we're able to track them via Shotspotter, I'd expect officers to show up at your house," Seargent McCauley said.
And speaking of houses, BPD says the most common call they get on New Year's is about house parties.
"Please be respectful to your neighbors as far as if you are going to hold an event. It might not be a bad idea to go around and touch base with your neighbors to let them know what's going on. A lot of people don't stay up until midnight, don't stay up until 2, 3 a.m. be courteous to one another as you're going forward."
CHP says they will be out in full force on New Year's Eve as well. They say last year, 34 people were arrested for DUI in Bakersfield during New Year's celebrations.