(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Local police said they're ready for a potentially busy New Year's Eve, but want celebrators to ring in 2020 in a safe way.
The St. Joseph Police Department said there's always an increase in vehicle accidents during the holiday period. Sgt. Keith Dudley, SJPD, added that it's even worse when the celebrations include alcohol.
"We don't want to be having to make that midnight knock at the door telling someone that their loved one was killed in an accident," Dudley said.
That's why officers, like SJPD Sgt. Roy Hoskins, tell everyone who is planning to consume alcohol to have a plan to safely get home, whether it be a designated driver or a ride-share app like Uber or Lyft.
"We're not wanting to tell people not to drink, not to have a good time. Just remember, you know, [to] pace yourself," Hoskins said. "There's a lot of people that go out and drink on this night in particular who don't drink regularly and they don't know their limits."
However, Sgt. Dudley said that drinking and driving related accidents are not the only calls keeping them busy over the New Year's celebrations.
"Usually around midnight, those shots-fired calls start rolling in," Dudley said.
There are some people within city limits who choose to kick-off the New Year with celebratory gunshots fired into the air. Police said this is not only against the law, but it can cause serious injury - reminding everyone that what goes up, does in fact come back down again.
"Usually people that are struck with those bullets are struck in the head," Dudley said. "Even if the bullets aren't going as fast as they are once they're originally fired from the gun, it can definitely do some damage."
Shooting off rounds, even in a celebratory matter, can result in arrest and further charges if someone gets injured or even killed. Dudley said he does not believe anyone in St. Joe has been injured in this type of incident recently, but that it has happened in cities across the nation - including Kansas City.
"It is very dangerous and there's definitely other ways to celebrate for sure," Dudley said.
Hoskins shared some further New Years's Eve celebration tips which include: keep your phone fully charged throughout the night, don't leave any drinks unattended, be safe around fireworks, and be aware of your surroundings.