With New Year's Eve right around the corner, Woodbury Patch asked a local police officer about how the department prepares for the holiday and how people can stay safe.
Woodbury police Sgt. Curt Zacharias says the biggest thing to remember on New Year's Eve is simply to plan ahead.
Woodbury Patch: Is New Year's Eve still a big night for drinking, especially this year, with it falling on a Friday?
Sgt. Curt Zacharias: I believe it is. It's not the big night that it used to be, but it's still a concern for us in public safety. We're not here to quash anybody's good time. We just ask that people give it some thought. Take a cab, get a sober driver—please don't get behind the wheel.
Patch: Does the police force do anything different on New Year's Eve?
Zacharias: We generally, around the holidays, try to staff a little heavier. We will have added patrols and hope people use good judgment. Have a good time, but be safe.
Patch: Is it true that police can't "stake out" a bar?
Zacharias: Officers can certainly observe traffic coming to and leaving bars. That's not prohibited, if you will. In Woodbury we don't have a heavy-drinking atmosphere. For us, around bar close we try to make sure people are driving appropriately.
Patch: How many drinks can you have before you're intoxicated?
Zacharias: It really doesn't take a whole lot, but it does depend on the size of the person and their physical make up. It can be three or four drinks for some people—you're impaired. Scientific studies have shown that even if you're below the legal limit, which is .08 in this state, it can impair your ability to drive. When in doubt, call a cab, call for a ride.
Patch: What are the costs associated with a DWI?
Zacharias: You can lose your license for up to a year. It can cost you $20,000 in legal fees and increased insurance rates. And there's possible jail time. It gets expensive.
Patch: What can people do to avoid a DWI?
Zacharias: Plan ahead—that's the big thing. Get a designated driver, call a cab, call a family member, or simply spend the night.