By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico
Local law enforcement will be out in extra force combing the streets New Years Eve for drunk drivers.
Thursday night, state, county and city police officers will be conducting saturation patrols aimed at stopping drunk drivers.
State Police Capt. Jimmy Glascock said patrol numbers will be at their highest in the late evening to early morning hours when drunk drivers are typically at their peak.
“(Make) sure that you have a designated driver if you plan on drinking,” he said.
“We’ll certainly be aggressively pursuing those that are driving impaired… (And) when we say impaired, that’s to the slightest degree.”
During saturation patrols, officers move throughout the community in concentrated numbers looking for intoxicated drivers.
Glascock said while the presumptive alcohol limit in the state is .08, the law says if a driver is impaired at all, they can be charged.
“If you’re impaired to a degree that you cannot safely operate a vehicle, you’ll be certainly subject to a DWI investigation,” he said.
An overwhelming number of DWI arrests are first-time offenders, Glascock said.
“It’s costly and we certainly wouldn’t want to see anybody start their New Year off with a DWI charge or a tragic accident.”
Clovis police are also be taking to the streets, looking for intoxicated drivers.
“Law Enforcement Officers throughout New Mexico and Curry County will be out in force to make sure that drunk drivers don’t cause tragedy on the roads this holiday season,” a press release said.
“Please drink responsibly and have a sober designated driver or call a taxi to get you home.”
Throughout the holiday, the Curry County Sheriff’s Office is sponsoring its Designated Driver program. It is a collaborative effort with local drinking establishments, giving designated drivers incentive packages such as merchandise from local businesses in exchange for helping their friends get home safely.
“It’s going excellent,” Sheriff Matt Murray said, explaining the program has been successful in the two years it has run.
Another concern for police are celebratory gunshots fired into the air. It’s a peripheral crime officers often deal with on New Years.
Clovis Lt. Jim Schoeffel said discharging a firearm inside city limits is a crime and will result in charges.
The city has recorded one victim already from celebratory gunfire. A 42-year-old Clovis man watching fireworks was hit in the arm by a bullet fired in the air during July 4 celebrations.