Staying safe on NYE: JPD vigilant for drunk drivers, sexual predators; rides home are free

Fireworks enforcement loosened for holiday

Revelers planning to drink on New Year’s Eve are advised to bring a sober driver, Deputy Police Chief David Campbell said in a Friday phone interview, as Juneau Police Department will be on the lookout for impaired drivers.

 

“We do have extra officers assigned to work for the holiday season and we are telling officers to be particularly vigilant in looking for impaired drivers, both with alcohol and drugs,” Campbell said.

Campbell’s advice: have a designated driver, make a plan for the night and stick to it. Changing plans at the end of the night after a few eggnogs or glasses of champagne could lead to somebody getting behind the wheel who’s too impaired to drive.

If you do find yourself without a designated driver at the end of the night, look for a cab with a green light. The Juneau/Lynn Canal chapter of the Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant and Retailers Association, Inc. (CHARR) has provided for free rides home from many of Juneau’s bars and restaurants.

From 9 p.m. Dec. 31 to 3 a.m. Jan. 1, those in need of a ride home can ask their servers to call a cab for them or look for green flashing lights on participating cabs.

Anecdotal reports of drinks spiked with date rape drugs like Rohypnol, or “ruffies,” are being passed around Juneau, the Empire learned this week through social media. JPD public safety officer Erann Kalwara said JPD hasn’t had a report of drink spiking in at least the last six weeks but sexual assault and drink spiking often goes unreported.

Campbell advised partygoers to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior. To be clear, sexual predators are to blame for sexual assault, not victims.

“It’s always a good idea to have a game plan,” Campbell said. “The advice we tell people is don’t accept a drink from someone you don’t know. You should always be accepting a drink for somebody you know or a server.”

If you leave your drink unattended, get a new one, Campbell added. He also advised people to go out in groups and stick to the same end-of-night plans.

The AWARE shelter provides emergency rape response and rape kits 24 hours a day and is prepared to respond to emergencies within 20-40 minutes. AWARE’s 24-hour crisis line can be reached at 586-1090 and toll-free at 1-800-478-1090.

Rules for fireworks usage also change for the holiday. Usually, fireworks that make noise — basically anything other than sparklers — are prohibited from use in Juneau due to the city’s disturbing the peace ordinance. But during certain hours on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Independence Day, those rules change.

From 10 a.m.-midnight New Year’s Eve and from 10 a.m.-midnight New Year’s Day, noise-making “concussive” fireworks are allowed in Juneau. The area that changes during these hours is south of Cohen Drive, which is past the ferry terminal Out the Road.

Past Cohen Drive, amateur pyrotechnicians are allowed to shoot off fireworks “to their heart’s content” year round. During New Year’s and the Fourth of July, those rules change.

“The city is trying to balance the competing interests, where some people want fireworks to be banned all the time and some people want to use them all the time. We are going to allow these two holidays a year when people who want to use fireworks can use them,” Campbell said.

Pickup locations for free rides home are: the Alaskan Hotel and Bar, Baranof Hotel, Duck Creek Market, Hangar on the Wharf, Imperial Bar, Louie’s Douglas Inn, Lucky Lady Pub, Moose Lodge 700, Red Dog Saloon, Rendevous Bar, Squirez Bar, The Island Pub, The Narrows, Triangle Club Bar, Viking Lounge and Billiard Parlor and Alaska Cache Liquor.


• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 or kevin.gullufsen@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @KevinGullufsen.


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