By MIKE CORN
A mix of wintry weather and New Year's Eve falling in mid-week might dampen some celebrations.
Just the same, Hays Police Chief Don Scheibler said the department's regular cadre of patrolmen will be on the streets enforcing traffic regulations.
As many as five additional officers will be on the streets as well, focusing on traffic enforcement, part of department's continuing program of saturation patrols.
Those officers will focus heavily on traffic enforcement, especially enforcement of laws involving driving under the influence.
"With New Year's Eve falling in the middle of the week, we expect it to be slower," Scheibler said Monday from his office at the interim judicial center on the west side of the Hays Regional Airport.
Two more highway-control signs have been installed to direct motorists to the site, in the building that previously housed the N.E.W. call center.
Two signs east and west of Commerce Parkway on Old U.S. Highway 40 remain in place, but a third has been installed just north of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks on Commerce.
A fourth sign uses flashing arrows to direct motorists to turn at the site of the interim judicial center, housing not only police and sheriff's officers, but also district court, the county attorney's office and Hays Municipal Court.
It's also housing the DUI processing center and temporary holding cells for the sheriff's office, where anyone arrested is first taken.
Officers detailed to the saturation patrol will likely see activity as the celebrations increase.
But Scheibler urged revelers to take steps to keep from being among those arrested.
"We want to encourage people to use Safe ride, the taxi service or use a designated driver," he said.
For some, Scheibler said, New Year's Eve isn't a night of celebration because they have to return to work the next morning.
When New Year's Eve falls on a Friday night, however, "it would be a rocking night," he said.
The threat from driving under the influence is real, Scheibler said.
And it's not always just a result of drinking alcohol, he said, citing an increase in impairment from marijuana, for example.
Arrests will be made for DUI whether it's a result of alcohol or so-called "buzzed driving," Scheibler said.
"We find people driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, we will arrest them," he said.
An as-yet unknown factor to it all might be the weather, depending on how cold it gets or how much snow falls.
"We encourage people to watch the weather," he said. "If the weather gets bad, we recommend that they stay home and spend time with the family and not chance it."