Officials urge citizens to party responsibly

Tonya Garner: CNJ Staff writer

Out with the old and in with the new.

Area residents will be celebrating the start of a new year tonight, and local officials are urging citizens to “party responsibly.”

Lt. James Schoeffel, public information officer for the Clovis Police Department, said New Year’s Eve will be safe and fun for everyone if laws and city ordinances are followed.

According to Schoeffel, there will be a zero tolerance policy when it comes to discharging a firearm within the city limits.
“It seems like every year we get calls about someone firing guns into the air at midnight,” Schoeffel said.

Schoeffel warns midnight revelers who choose to celebrate with gun play will be arrested and booked into the Curry County Detention Center with a charge of negligent use of a firearm. “People need to realize that what goes up must come down,” Schoeffel said, “and stray bullets can kill innocent people.”

Schoeffel added that alcohol can be a big part of the festivities on New Year’s Eve. The lieutenant said residents who “get in a jam” have the option of calling the department’s dial-a-ride at 769-1921. “Calls for service will come first,” Schoeffel said, “but we will make every effort to get people home safely if needed.”

According to Schoeffel, officers will be out patrolling the streets of Clovis in “full-force” as part of the DWI saturation patrol. “We will have officers in high traffic areas as well as residential areas,” Schoeffel said. “These officers will not be responding to calls, they will be specifically hunting for drunk drivers.”

Chris Heller, Sr., owner of City Cab, said his taxicab service plans to offer extended hours tonight.

“We will operate until around 4 a.m.,” Heller said. “We don’t want anyone to drink and drive. Cab fare is cheaper.”

Clovis Fire Department Investigator Karen Burns said she would like residents to be mindful of the region’s dry conditions before including fireworks in celebrations.

“We are concerned about fire dangers this New Year season,” Burns said. “There are no burn bans, but the potential for another Floyd fire is here in Clovis if we do not take necessary precautions.”

Schoeffel echoed Burns’ concern regarding fireworks. “The police department is asking residents to refrain from using fireworks all together,” he said.