3 New Year's Eve safety concerns for police

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- 2015 may start with a bang, but illegal gunfire tops the list of potential dangers police are monitoring this New Year's Eve as they try to keep the good times rolling.

Celebratory gunfire and drunk driving are two problems that pop up every year on this night. Wild parties are a third, but Fresno police are using new tools to keep things calm. DUI checkpoints and increased patrols near bars and restaurants are standard New Year's Eve operations for police by now. Fresno officers will have both Wednesday night.

But as 160 officers hit the streets, many will shift focus to their computers, monitoring social media for rowdy parties all over town. "We want to be very proactive in that, in shutting down some of those parties where we know there's a presence of gang members there as well as any kind of disturbance," said Fresno police chief Jerry Dyer.

Chief Dyer says many parties start small and innocent, but once they hit Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat the guest list can spiral out of control. "There's a potential for not only the intended people to be there, but unintended people that perhaps are armed or in gangs and that's when we have problems," Dyer said.

New Year's Eve YouTube videos posted from Fresno over the last few years demonstrate another major potential problem. What goes up must come down, and sometimes celebratory bullets come down in unsafe places. Even police officers sometimes park under bridges to avoid becoming victims, but when they hear gunshots, they'll be looking for the source.

"Any time a person takes a firearm and just fires it up into the air, not knowing where that round is ultimately going to land, it's reckless and irresponsible and a crime," Dyer said. null
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