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Dec. 31 revelers warned: Police will be out in full force

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Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

It's New Year's Eve. For many, that means it's time to party.

But for area law enforcement, it's a night when their main goal will be trying to keep those on the area roadways safe.

Locally, Connellsville police will be out in full force on New Year's Eve.

They'll be keeping an eye out, not only for intoxicated drivers, but any other unusual behavior.

Sgt. Dan Sherbinsky said officers will be stationed in strategic locations throughout the city — and they'll be watching.

Connellsville police participate in the Smooth Operators Program, Sherbinsky said. It's a program that targets aggressive driving.

“We'll be out and we'll try to be more visible,” said Sherbinsky, explaining that the hope is that if the public recognizes the increased police presence, it will deter impaired or reckless driving as well as any other actions that could spoil someone's New Year's celebration.

“We want to try to prevent anything from happening,” Sherbinsky said.

Pennsylvania State Police Tpr. Stefani Plume, stationed in Uniontown, said state police advise anyone heading out to party on New Year's Eve — or any day — not to drink or drive. Police said a designated driver should be named.

“There is going to be a lot of people out and about on New Year's Eve,” said Plume, encouraging responsible partying and driving.

Sherbinsky said that the department will be ready for the extra traffic.

“There is going to be a lot of extra officers on duty,” Sherbinsky said.

Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Steven Limani, of the Greensburg barracks, said the state police centers its patrols on areas of high traffic and risk for the evening.

“During the holidays, we have officers assigned specifically for traffic enforcement in an effort to reduce crashes, specifically ones related to DUI,” Limani said. “We use a mapping system and track higher crash areas. We patrol those areas in an attempt to reduce those statistics.”

Limani said although it is considered to be a big drinking holiday, many people do act responsibly.

“Believe it or not, many people will make arrangements so they are not drinking and driving,” Limani said.

Limani said New Year's Eve is not the holiday when the largest number of DUIs arrests are made. Historically, he said, that would be the night before Thanksgiving.

“We just want people to be safe, be smart, wear your seat belts and use a little common sense,” Plume said.

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