Holiday Safety Top Priority For Local Law Enforcement Agencies

Carmela Karcher

2024 is less than five days away.

As the valley is gearing up for yet another New Year’s Eve celebration, so are our local police departments.

“Chief Mike Washburn is, like all chiefs, concerned about their city’s safety during the holiday,” Indio Police Department Public Information Officer Benjamin Guitron said.

One of the biggest issues cities face this time of year is the illegal use of fireworks.

Besides the hefty fine, it also poses major risks.

“It’s not permitted. It’s not licensed. It’s not anything,” Guitron continued. “It could cause injuries, it could cause fires, the fire department is very interested in preventing that. [People can] lose a limb, a finger. It could be a kid, could be your nephew, could be your best friend’s child. It isn’t worth that. Worried about the fine? I would be worried about changing someone’s life.” 

Along with fireworks, the use of firearms has also increased over the years.

“Once you discharge that firearm into the air, you think it’s great in making those decisions. It’s not,” Guitron said. “We don’t know where that projectile bullet lands and could hurt someone. Again, there are fines, possession of the firearm or if the firearm is registered, but it doesn’t matter. They’re not to be used in any situation for celebratory reasons.”

But arguably the biggest threat to people’s safety on New Year’s Eve is others driving under the influence.

“Just make the right choice,” Guitron explained. “Pick someone, a family friend, someone you trust to be responsible. Yeah, they might not be drinking and maybe not enjoying the New Year’s Eve party drinking, but that one person you pick is going to save everyone’s life that night.”

The California Highway Patrol will also be out in full force starting its “maximum enforcement period” to catch impaired drivers starting this Friday at 6 p.m. until late Monday night.

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