Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 | 3:43 p.m.
With New Year's Eve fast approaching, Metro Police held a press conference Thursday to outline the details of their enforcement plans and to encourage valley residents not to drink and drive.
Metro began putting more patrol cars on the street Tuesday to crack down on drunken drivers, and the department plans to have a heavy presence around the Las Vegas Strip and downtown Saturday night, Capt. Mark Tavarez said.
There will be three DUI vans patrolling the tourist corridor, and people can "expect to see a lot of stops made," Tavarez said.
Outside of Las Vegas Boulevard, normal patrols will take place throughout the valley, he said.
"We'll have officers everywhere," he said.
Law enforcement officials aren't against people enjoying and celebrating the holiday with alcohol, Tavarez said, but they want people to celebrate safely and have no tolerance for drunken driving.
"It affects everybody, especially people who are just going about their business and were hit by a drunk driver," he said. "If you're driving impaired, look for the police behind you because that's where we're going to be. It doesn't matter where you are in town. "
Metro has made about 8,000 DUI arrests this year, Tavarez said, a decrease from last year. The number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities is also down, by about 17 percent.
The increased police presence in valley will continue through New Year's Day, he said.
Sandy Heverly, executive director of Stop DUI, said there are plenty of options to get home for people who have been drinking, including cabs, public transit and having a designated driver. All of those options are cheaper than a DUI, she said, which costs on average of $13,000 when fines and attorney costs are factored in.
"We're a gambling town, but this is not a good gamble," she said. "Driving under the influence is a bad bet."