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Operation Countdown to Safety: Tampa Police’s New Year’s Holiday Safety Operation


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On December 27, 2023, Chief Lee Bercaw announced an increase in patrol presence throughout the New Year’s Holiday for Operation Countdown to Safety.

As a part of Operation Countdown to Safety, officers will be focused on removing impaired drivers from our roadways, holding those who shoot celebratory gunfire into the air accountable, and encouraging the community to report any suspicious activity.

With thousands of visitors expected throughout the city for various events, including the bowl game and regular New Year's festivities, officers are committed to ensuring that intoxicated and reckless drivers stay off the road. So far in 2023, Tampa Police officers have made more than 1,500 DUI Arrests.

“Careless actions will be a fast track to welcoming the new year in handcuffs,” said Chief Lee Bercaw. “Through Operation Countdown to Safety, we’re ensuring that our community welcomes 2024 safely and not at the cost of someone else’s life.”

There are 400,000 residents and just under 1,000 officers in the City of Tampa. Keeping the city safe is a collaborative effort between officers and the community. To ensure we can welcome the new year tragedy-free, there are several tips the community should keep in mind for their holiday weekend.

  • Buzzed driving is drunk driving. A DUI is a costly risk that’s not worth taking. Finding a sober designated driver or utilizing a ride-share service will be significantly cheaper and ultimately keep you and others safe.
  • Bullets do not defy gravity. Celebratory gunfire is reckless and puts dozens of others at risk, potentially causing serious injury or death. Fireworks should be the only things lighting up the sky, not bullets.
  • Slow speeds save lives. Speed limits should be adhered to ensure everyone can get to and from their destinations safely.
  • If you see something, say something. Calling the non-emergency number (813-231-6130) or telling a nearby officer about a suspicious person or package is one of the most effective ways to help officers keep the community safe. In the case of an emergency or immediate threat to the public, dial 911.

Today’s press conference can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/aw60Gh4FWJ0