The Police Department is taking steps to ensure that city residents have a safe - and legal - New Year’s Eve celebration, Police Chief Scott Cunningham said.
"The city of Winston-Salem and the Winston-Salem Police Department would like to ensure every citizen enjoys and has a safe New Year celebration," Cunningham said. "The Police Department would like to remind citizens of common occurrences that threaten the safety and well-being of our citizens.
"These include the use of fireworks that are prohibited by North Carolina General Statute 14-410. Fireworks injuries can be devastating and at times fatal. Even innocent bystanders can be hurt. Only legal fireworks should be used."
The Police Department will have extra patrols in the city to monitor and strictly enforce drunk-driving laws. "Reaction times are impacted with each drink," Cunningham said. "Make arrangements for a designated driver or call a cab. Driving while impaired can lead to crashes, which can and do cause serious injuries including fatalities."
Also, he said, "Know who is handling and serving your drinks. Monitor your drinks to ensure they are what you ordered and have not been altered or added to."
Officers also will be enforcing city statutes against discharging firearms within the city limits. "Whatever is shot must go somewhere," Cunningham said. "Even if shot into the air, it will come down somewhere and can cause damage or injuries. If a recklessly discharged weapon causes injury, the shooter can be criminally charged and held civilly liable.
"If you have a weapon in your hand and are confronted by a police officer, you need to completely and immediately comply with the directions of the officer. Place the weapon on the ground, raise your hands above your head, and step back from it slowly. Do not run or make sudden movements that appear non-compliant or aggressive. Do exactly as the officer instructs, and verbally respond to the officer to indicate your compliance.
"Our goal is to have every citizen enjoy the start of the New Year in a safe, legal, and enjoyable manner."