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Extra Enforcement Due For Holiday
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With Christmas now behind us, the next big holiday looming is just around the corner, with New Year's Eve and New Year's Day coming up Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.

Holiday revelers are cautioned to play it safe, with local law enforcement agencies on the lookout for impaired drivers and midnight shooters.

"We're putting on some extra patrols," said Escalon Police Chief Doug Dunford. "The goals are to cut down on the thefts that typically occur around Christmas and to deter driving under the influence."

The extra personnel are due to be on starting Thursday, Dec. 27 and the higher staffing level will run each day through the New Year.

"I also had extra people on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (Dec. 19 through 21) to do extra patrols around the shopping centers," the chief added.

Escalon doesn't typically have too much going on for New Year's Eve, he said, but the extra patrols are needed mostly for motorists coming through town.

"Last year, as in years past, we roll the streets up about 9 p.m.," Dunford said, chuckling. "But we do sometimes get drunk drivers coming through and people looking to do unscrupulous things, like vandalize."

Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be targeted and Dunford said police will do several safety checks around the region during the long holiday period to make sure homes and businesses are safe.

As far as shots being fired at midnight - often used as a way to ring in the New Year - Dunford said the city hasn't had too much trouble with that so far.

"Most of the shots being fired are out in the county area, though we do sometimes get calls," he said.

For 2008, the police department will start off the year at full staff, with 11 sworn officers and 12 reserves, along with one reserve officer in the process of a background check. Dunford said he hopes to bring on more Explorers and Senior Patrol members in the new year.