Police officers in East Palo Alto will be out in force this New Year’s Eve, since the city’s police department is tripling the number of officers deployed throughout the city.
In a press release explaining the heavy presence of officers on the city's streets on the last day of the year, police officials said that the additional officers were being deployed “to maintain the peace, prevent crime and violence and arrest drunk drivers.”
The extra officers have been assigned to select areas of the city, where the ShotSpotter gunshot detection system recorded the most gunshots and fireworks activity during New Year’s Eve last year.
ShotSpotter automatically records the location of gunfire and fireworks and alerts the police in seconds to the exact location of the activity.
According to city officials, East Palo Alto is the only city in the United States that employs the ShotSpotter system citywide.
In addition to assigning more officers to high activity areas, the police issued notices to the areas' residents telling them that the police department had adopted a zero-tolerance policy under which officers would arrest anyone caught either possessing a firearm illegally or shooting a gun in public.
The notices also warned residents that the public discharge of a firearm is a felony that carries a sentence of up to three years in prison and this three-year sentence would increase if the resulting gunfire led to someone’s injury or death.
East Palo Alto police are also strictly enforcing two city ordinances: one which makes the use of fireworks in the city illegal and the second which requires city residents to observe an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m curfew.
The extra officers, assigned to high activity areas, will also be on the lookout for drunk drivers in the city.
In his written notice to the community, East Palo Alto’s Chief of Police, Ron Davis, asked the city's residents to “help our community by refraining from celebratory gunflre and illegal fireworks this New Year’s Eve,” and he requested that they share the notices that they received with their family, friends and neighbors.
To contact Henrietta J. Burroughs, the author of this article, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.