Agencies to step up patrols for New Year’s

Published 6:00 am Friday, December 31, 2004

Authorities say they will be out in force over the New Year’sDay weekend to enforce traffic and other laws, including aprohibition against fireworks inside the Brookhaven citylimits.

“We have that law that people cannot shoot fireworks in thecity,” Police Chief Pap Henderson said.

Henderson said either children or parents will be charged ifthey are found shooting fireworks. He said he had noticed morefireworks complaints in recent days.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We have to answer the complaints,” chief said.

Complaints over Christmas were light, Henderson said. Heattributed the limited activity to cold weather.

“It’s really beginning to pick up now,” Henderson said aboutfireworks. “Warmer weather and the New Year’s holiday coming up arecontributing factors.”

Fireworks are allowed to be fired in the county. While he wasnot condoning the activity inside the city, Henderson encouragedparents to be very careful and take precautions so their childrenare not hurt by fireworks.

While the Christmas holidays are typically the busiest times forfireworks, Henderson said he had noticed an increase around theFourth of July over the last five or six years.

“It’s such a big business. Everywhere you look outside the city,you have a fireworks stand up,” the chief said. “Every opportunitythey get, they’re here.”

Regarding other holiday law enforcement, Henderson said policeofficers will be conducting regular patrols of all areas.

“The manpower is there for it to be regular patrol,” Hendersonsaid.

Area officials also warned against drinking and driving.

“We put emphasis on that at Christmas and New Year’s,” Hendersonsaid.

Warren Strain, spokesman for the state Department of PublicSafety, told The Associated Press that troopers will also be out inforce over the New Year’s weekend.

”As is typical around the New Year’s holiday, oftentimes thereis a consumption of alcohol involved,” Strain said. ”We will beusing federal grant to money as part of our ‘You Drink, You Drive,You Lose’ campaign to pay overtime to augment our routinepatrols.”

Strain said troopers will be on the alert for intoxicatedmotorists as well as ”any other violations that may be occurringon the roads and highways.”

”Just like Christmas, this holiday falls on a weekend, and weanticipate high volumes of traffic,” he said. ”The weather willbe a lot more conducive to traveling – with warmer temperatures -and we expect a lot of people to be out and about. We will beanticipating that and will act accordingly.”

Henderson encouraged those attending parties and other NewYear’s events where alcohol will be present to obtain a designateddriver.

“What we want more than anything is for people to have a safeand happy new year to look forward to in 2005,” Henderson said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.