Police Patrols Gear Up for New Year's Eve

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Every New Year's Eve,  Midland Police cars set out on patrol, cracking down on drunk drivers. The end of 2011 will be no different.

"During New Year's, we'll have two units come out. We'll have our DWI STEP unit, who is funded by government, they'll provide funds to pay our officers overtime to come out and work strictly DWI's," Midland Police Sergeant, Matt Davis, said.

Those government units will be added onto more Midland patrol units already specifically designated for catching drunk drivers.

While no checkpoints will be used, officers said this increased presence will already make drivers who have had one too many think twice about hitting the road.

"The more patrol cars we have out on the streets, the less a person will get out and drive intoxicated, I believe," Davis said.

But removing drunk drivers from the roads is only one part of the job. The other is stopping overindulgence.

Some local restaurants in Midland are also doing their part to curb drunk driving this New Year's Eve.

Luigi's Italian Restaurant, for example, has a two-drink limit.

"All of our servers and our bartender here are trained through Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and they know how to recognize signs of people that could have been drinking before they came in," Luigi's Assistant Manager, Lani Ziemkowski, said. "We encourage them to eat. We offer to call someone to come and get them or offer to call a taxi for them."

Implemented after Luigi's owner Michael Hochman lost his wife, Patsy, more than three years ago to a car accident, the policy stands year-round, but stands especially important during the holidays.

Whether behind the bar or behind the badge, the Tall City is looking to keep this New Year's Eve a safe one.

"Particularly, the holidays is a time for celebration and joy and not to be having a time of sorrow," Ziemkowski said.

"If you've had at least one or two drinks, just go ahead and don't take a chance," Davis said. "Go ahead and get you a designated driver. It's not worth it."