Riding along with Santa Maria's CHP on NYE

What they'll be looking out for Sunday night

Riding along with Santa Marias CHP on...

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - It's California Highway Patrol Officer Cliff Powers first New Year's Eve in Santa Maria but he isn't new to law enforcement. 

Officer Powers has pulled over countless people in his nine years with the CHP.

While the years have gone by, Officer Powers can still remember his first New Year's Eve on the job. 

A drunk driver flipped her car on Highway 17, ejecting her boyfriend from the passenger side.  

"She could not do anything for her dying boyfriend and I had to put her in handcuffs and she had to sit in jail during all of this.. It's something I wouldn't wish upon your worst enemy," Officer Powers explained.

That's why he hopes people think twice about their driving decisions tonight, telling us: "I feel so strongly that there's no reason that you can think of, that I can think of, that anyone can think of, to drive with alcohol in your system - it's just not worth it." 

Officer Powers says they'll be working in conjunction with other agencies like the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office to keep people safe. 

"A lot of times they'll have pre-knowledge of where the big parties are and let us know so when they have the mass exodus of people leaving we can be ready and we can be watching over the big exit of these parties," Powers said

And even back roads that people may try to use to hide from law enforcement will be patrolled as well.

"You're out of luck - any type of back road that you think you can take - any type of side road that you think is not checked, you're gonna be out of luck," said Powers. 

If you see an impaired driver and law enforcement isn't around however, Officer Powers suggests calling it in. 

"There's nothing wrong with thinking that you see a drunk driver and calling it in. The worst thing that could happen is we stop that vehicle and they're not drunk, maybe they're distracted or they're tired and we go about our day and we go on to the next one," he said. 

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