New Year's gun shots distracting officers - – Rockford’s News Leader

New Year's gun shots distracting officers

Tonight's a night of celebration.

For many, once the clock strikes midnight, they start the year off with a bang--literally.

"Come midnight, we will be inundated with calls of shots fired," Assistant Deputy Chief Patrick Hoey said.

A night of drinking with friends to ring in the new year, leads some people to pull the trigger of their guns at midnight to signal the start of a new year.

According to city officials, there are typically 100 shots hear around Rockford on this day, and they can be a nightmare for officers on duty.

"It really causes a safety issue for those out on the streets. Those bullets go up and have to come down somewhere," Hoey said.

With all the calls coming in, it can take up to four hours for officers to check all the alerts.

Each call means two officers off the streets, unable to investigate other problems like drunk drivers.

That's why they say they are happy with the extra help getting those drinking home safe, and not behind the wheel.

"Last year, from 5 p.m to about 5 a.m., we had approximately 400 phone calls," Forest City Cab President, Nick Jupin, said.
Forest City Cab service expects even more this year.

The company drives folks anywhere from Roscoe to Rockford.

By five this evening, the company was almost already booked through the night.

But workers say even with the good money coming in, this night means more to them.

"This is our way of helping curb DUI'S," Jupin said.

Rockford Police say although none of these celebratory gunshots have resulted in any deaths in the recent past, they warn people should stay inside around that time for their safety. 

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