Columbia Police say have fun, be safe on New Year's Eve
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department (CPD) will be patrolling on New Year's Eve Thursday night, looking for drunk drivers.
Training Officer Nathan Turner said CPD wants everyone to go out and have a good time, but be safe.
"That's what the New Year celebration is all about," Turner said. "But, we also want everyone to make it through 2016 and not get hurt or injured from intoxicated-related traffic crashes."
Turner said he doubts there will be any random DWI checkpoints for Thursday night, but he added there could be officers that come in for special enforcement of DWIs.
"I mean, the basic thing I would tell, that I would tell anybody is if you consume any alcohol besides just a quick drink at New Year's, don't get behind the wheel of a car," Turner said. "Because, a lot of people that I come in contact with, they say, you know, I've only had the two beers. Well, that's how many beers that they remember. They really consumed eight, nine, ten beers and are highly intoxicated and that they just don't remember."
Turner said CPD has been preparing for about a week and a half for Thursday night. He said CPD was a part of the Drive Sober campaign through the state to where there's extra enforcement on the roads for DWI drivers to help prevent them from either hurting or killing someone.
"They're out talking. They're drinking socially," Turner said. "As a drink, they're just not remembering the actual beer in their hand."
Turner said in the last five years he's been a part of the DWI unit, the number of DWIs has been steady.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the number of DWIs from alcohol intoxication in Missouri has decreased every year since 2012. 2012 saw 7,756 DWIs. 2013 saw 6,947 DWIs and 2014 saw 5,888 DWIs or about 15 percent.