Make responsible decisions on NYE and NYD, urges JPD

By Jim McCabe on December 31 at 1:17pm

If you’re ringing in the New Year with an adult beverage in West Central Illinois, local law enforcement officials have this reminder: stay away from the car keys and don’t drink in public.

The free service “Alert Cab” is being offered New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, where employees at restaurants or bars in Jacksonville and South Jacksonville that are part of the program will call Star Cab or West Central Mass Transit to request a free ride for those who have had too much to drink.

Jacksonville Police Chief Tony Grootens believes that’s a good system, and encourages those ringing in 2014 to use it or otherwise be responsible.

“The cabs are certainly working, and we have buses that run all day and all night. They even bring in tour buses from other communities here. So, it’s a good celebration, and I think that people should go out and have fun, but they have to be careful and aware of how much alcohol they’ve consumed,” Grootens says.

“There’s not a real reason for someone to drink and drive in this community. Have a designated driver or take a bus or take a cab. It’s that simple; don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve had too much to drink, because chances are you’re going to get arrested.”

Grootens reminds revelers that there is an ordinance against open containers of alcohol on public streets.

“I know that [people] like to go from bar to bar and take their beer with them. However, it’s still illegal to do that, and they aren’t exempt on New Year’s Day, and in past years, our officers have made arrests,” Grootens says.

“Generally the first time, they’re going to tell them to pour it out. If they catch them a second time, they’re going to get a ticket, and that’s just the way it is. So, I would encourage people [who are] going bar to bar to finish their drink and then go to the next bar,” he continues.

Grootens says in past years, the Jacksonville Police Department hasn’t had to increase patrols on the first and last days of the year, but there will be a full shift of officers on Tuesday and Wednesday.