The Santa Monica Police Department has issued two seasonal cautions this week that can best be summarized in the words that police Sergeant Phil Esterhaus used to end each roll call meeting on Hill Street Blues: “Hey, let’s be careful out there.”
The SMPD notes that “each year throughout the country, as part of the New Year’s Eve celebration, many individuals discharge their firearms into the air, not realizing the potential consequences of their actions.” After all, what goes up, must come down.
“It is illegal to negligently fire a gun within the City limits of Santa Monica,” the police remind us. “The negligent discharge of a firearm is a felony and punishable by imprisonment in state prison. If arrested, your bail will be $25,000.00.”
Also note: The SMPD will be conducting a sobriety saturation patrol during the evening hours of Thursday, December 31, within the City of Santa Monica. Officers will be contacting drivers to confirm their sobriety and driver’s license status. This is the first of several saturation patrols to be conducted over the next 12-month period.
The police remind drivers, “If you plan on drinking, have a designated driver or call a taxi cab to take you safely home. Since 2005, the number of alcohol-involved fatalities has been dropping, thanks to efforts like this. But law enforcement and the public must continue to work toward zero deaths.’
Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Law enforcement officers are doing more to remove drunk drivers from California’s streets and highways thanks to our DUI traffic safety funding,” said Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. “But everyone can help make their communities safer; if you see a drunk driver – call 9-1-1.”
The SMPD adds, “If you witness someone firing a gun, call 9-1-1 and report it. Give the 9-1-1 dispatcher as much information as possible about the shooting. If you only hear gunfire, call Santa Monica Police Dispatch at 310.458.8491 immediately.”
For more information, you can contact Sergeant Larry Horn with the Santa Monica Police Department’s Traffic Division at 310.458.8950 or the department’s Public Information Officer, Sergeant Jay Trisler at 310.458.8471.