Law enforcement beefs up

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As you sip that spiked eggnog this holiday season, local law enforcement agencies want you to know that if you have been drinking it, is always a good idea to have a designated driver take you home or to find alternative transportation.

"We want people to be merry, but do it safely," police Capt. Joel Rae said.

Rae said the police department planned to increase patrols during the Christmas and New Year's holidays and especially during the first week of December, which is traditionally referred to as "Office Party Weekend."

Most offices and businesses have holiday parties the first weekend of December, Rae said. So officers will be out in full force from Saturday night to Sunday morning looking for anything suspicious or drivers who might be driving under the influence of alcohol.

"Be responsible and plan ahead," Rae said, "We have all kinds of alternatives available like taxis, the bus system and designated drivers."

Rae said that during the rest of the season, the police department would continue its staunch DUI enforcement.

In the winter, police officers respond to more one-vehicle DUI car accidents than any other time of the year, because of ice and snow on roads, he said.

The Routt County Sheriff's Office also plans saturation patrols during the holiday season, especially on New Year's Eve.

"In the last few years (New Year's Eve) has been a non-holiday, but you never know," Undersheriff Dan Taylor said. "I think people have become more judicious in what they do or don't do."

Taylor said the Sheriff's Office will have more patrol deputies out during New Year's Eve than Christmas, but there would be some extra patrol for Christmas.

Sgt. Gary Meirose with the Colorado State Patrol said troopers also would be conducting saturation patrols during the holidays and that sobriety checkpoints also are a possibility.

"At this point, we don't have any DUI checkpoints planned, but that might change as we get nearer to the holidays," Meirose said.

Meirose said that most people typically stay home for Thanksgiving Day and that most people aren't on the roads posing a threat.

However, traffic increases as Christmas draws near, and that is when the Colorado State Patrol plans to increase its patrol.

"We'll be working hard to keep our roads safe," he said.

Like Rae and Taylor, Meirose stresses the importance of drinking responsibly and having a plan to get home before going out.

"If you're going to drink, don't drive. In the end it will save you a lot of heartache," he said.

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