UPDATED 12/31/10 5:59 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) — As the New Year approaches, city, county and state police are sending a clear warning to be safe.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, police have zero tolerance for drunken driving, firing guns to ring in the New Year, and other such illegal activity.
The hustle and bustle inside a kitchen at Harry Caray’s Restaurant, 33 W. Kinzie St., captures the anticipation of the final day of 2010.
Revelers there and elsewhere in downtown Chicago said they plan to ring in the New Year with friends, food and flutes of bubbly.
“What’s the plan for tonight? staying in with my girlfriends drinking a lot of champagne,” said Megan Rudmin of the Bridgeport neighborhood, whom we met at Binny’s Beverage Depot.
But before you take one more shot of a drink at a party, police want you know they’re watching.
“Illegal and reckless behavior will not be tolerated,” said police Supt. Jody Weis said.
Police and state patrols will have their full force out Friday night, enforcing drunken driving and seatbelt laws, and making sure guns are put away.
“Police will saturate areas where celebratory gunfire was troublesome last year,” Weis said. “Discharging a firearm is incredibly dangerous and the idea that is related to celebrated is simply outrageous.”
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel Reports
Alice Norris stood with the police representatives Friday to show off what she says the best way to bring in the new year.
“Ring in the new year with your bells,” Norris said as she rang a bell herself, “and I hope that next year, you all have the church bells and everything chiming for New Year’s Eve.”
Norris is a member of the group Purpose over Pain, and a woman who lost her daughter to gunfire 17 years ago.
The Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church, said the bottom line is that guns are a symbol of pain and death.
“And then for some strange reason on New Year’s Eve, we try to redefine the meaning of guns, and make them a symbol of celebration,” Pfleger said.
A new state law goes into effect at midnight, calling for a mandatory 1 to 3 year prison term for any criminal caught with a loaded, uncased firearm and no Firearm Owner’s Identification Card.
CBS 2’s Susanna Song and WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel contributed to this report.