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Law enforcement urges safe driving on New Year's Eve

Posted at 7:29 PM, Dec 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-31 20:30:37-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Many will head to parties and local bars tonight to celebrate the new year and police all over the metro want you to be safe.

Jim Kelter works part-time at the Poop Deck bar.

He expects dozens will come in and out of the bar to celebrate a new decade--and with all the excitement of new years, he says it's easy for people to over-consume.

“A lot of people say ‘yeah, I’m just coming there for one or two drinks’--well, one or two turns into three or four," said Kelter.

That's why he says it's important bartenders know when to cut people off.

“A bartender has to gauge when somebody's had enough and here in this place, we know everybody... so a lot of times we will say, you know what, this is probably your last drink," said Kelter.

More importantly, Kelter said they ensure everyone gets home safely.

“If you need a ride home, we're more than willing. Somebody in here--because we're all friends--will drive them home," said Kelter.

But Bellevue Police Sergeant Joe Milos said people must plan ahead.

“The decision not to drive has to be made before we start celebrating because the way the alcohol and other drugs can affect our decision-making… the odds are stacked against us to make a good decision after the fact," said Sgt. Milos.

Sgt. Milos added you can expect to see extra officers throughout the metro working to keep you safe.

“We see in Nebraska 21 to 34 account for over half of our alcohol-related crashes... so that's a pretty wide age range,” said Sgt. Milos. “But you know, during the holidays everybody gets together and that's part of that celebration and we just hope that the driving aspect is not part of that celebration."

Kelter said he wants everyone to enjoy their time but he knows where to draw the line.

“When you get to the point where you've had too much where we stop serving," said Kelter.

See a list of local companies offering free rides home tonight here.