New Year's Eve: San Francisco Police Lay Down the Law

Categories: Law & Order
Chief Gascon wants you to be smart, not dumb
When a roomful of grimly unsmiling, gun-toting, uniformed police officers say they want everyone to "have fun," it goes without saying a definition of what is "fun" is forthcoming.

Or, perhaps more accurately, here's what the San Francisco Police Department this morning announced to the gathered media is not fun:

  • Drunkenness in public;

  • Open containers;

  • Bars or other establishments selling to minors or drunks;

  • Driving drunk;

  • Firing your gun in the air like you just don't care.

Regarding this last transgression, the police provided no fewer than seven written reasons why it's a poor idea to discharge a firearm skyward as a means of expressing celebratory urges.

Included was the fact that "a bullet fired in the air can climb up to two miles. When it falls back to earth, it can reach a speed of 300 to 700 feet per second." Cool! Or, rather, not cool. In any event, firing guns in the air is discouraged -- and anyone who needs seven rationales why to not do so, including scientific evidence, is probably not much of a reader.

Police Chief George Gascon, the master of ceremonies for this morning's press conference, promised a "significant number of police officers in uniform" during New Year's Eve. Expect thick concentrations of cops in "venues commonly used for celebrations" -- that'd be the Embarcadero, the Broadway corridor, Union Square, and all the familiar places. And expect the cops to get there early.

"We want to start earlier before people have had much to drink so they can see the higher deployment," explained Gascon. He anticipated at least 250,000 people to gather at the Embarcadero to watch the only legal fireworks show in town and more than half a million people to hit the streets citywide.

Police will also be undertaking "aggressive code enforcement of liquor establishments" targeting the selling of booze to sloshed or young customers.

Would-be drunk drivers should know that BART will be running until 4 a.m. and Muni's Owl service will be running every 15 minutes instead of every 30. And while BART won't be free, Muni and Caltrain will be. By the way, yes, the 31st is indeed the last Friday of the month -- meaning it'll be Critical Mass on top of every other traffic conundrum facing the city.

Gascon claims he has worked around overtime reductions equivalent to 150 fulltime officers by shunting more police to later hours for the holiday and pushing administrative workers outside.

And, once again, he urges everyone to come to San Francisco and "have fun. "

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