Police urge residents to use caution on New Year's Eve

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Fireworks and attending holiday parties are traditions for so many of us on New Year's Eve but law enforcement officials caution that it also can have deadly consequences. They're urging people to be extra careful.

"We want people to remain cautious, that's our message," said Captain Doug Cain of Louisiana State Police.

Precious Shorts describes the fireworks she likes to watch on New Year's Eve but her father Curtis is never fully at ease when his child looks up into the sky.

"It scares me as a father because it could be a gunshot and you have to know about where your child is at all times because a gunshot could be their life," said Shorts.

That was the case back in 2000 when little Seth Pfister was struck and killed by a falling bullet fired in Baton Rouge during a July Fourth celebration.

Cain says firing shots as celebration during July or to ring in the New Year may be considered tradition by some but it's a crime that will be prosecuted to the fullest.

"Those bullets go up and they have to come down and we've seen fatalities across the state in prior years and certainly it won't be tolerated by law enforcement in this community," added Cain.

Cain and his troopers will also be working with local law enforcement agencies to crack down on people who decide to drink and drive on New Year's Eve. State Police have already worked more than 40 fatalities in December in the state and Cain adds that more than one third of them have come in the area.

"Highway Safety Commission provides extra grant funding for us to put extra troopers on the road so we're going to do that and we have zero tolerance. We have the no refusal weekend and if someone refuses a chemical test, we'll actually get a search warrant from a judge for a blood test so we can test it for alcohol," said Cain.

For Curtis the answer is simple, enjoy the holiday with family and get out of harm's way as quickly as possible.

"We go to church and celebrate at church and then come home and go to bed. 47:41 - stay indoors as much as we can," said Shorts.

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