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IN THE KNOW: Tips for a safe, enjoyable holiday

The holiday season is a busy time for everyone. More people traveling, shopping and attending events, makes it a busy time for law enforcement officers at work as well. We take pride in the fact that we are helping ensure that others can have a safe and enjoyable holiday season. We want people to create positive experiences and memories and I hope these reminders can help make that happen.

This can truly be a joyful season. It allows for family gatherings and social events that give us time with family, friends and co-workers. It can also be a time when people are feeling stressed or depressed. Friends, family or co-workers are usually the first to know that things are not going well. Ways to help are:

• Don't ignore it. These are situations where it is imperative to be willing to address these concerns.

• Ask what may feel like uncomfortable questions and have conversations about these concerns. A person's words and actions can truly make a difference and may even save a life.

• Take action by doing things that help ease the stress or immediately get law enforcement assistance or professional intervention in crisis situations.

• When in doubt, call for help. Law enforcement officers would much rather be called and not needed than not called and be needed.

The festive season often involves gatherings where alcoholic beverages are part of the festivities. Our hope is that those who drink, will do it responsibly. These points can help make positive memories:

• If you are going to drive, we would prefer that you don't drink at all. Even small amounts of alcohol begin to impair a person's ability to drive.

• When you are attending an event where you plan to drink, arrange for a safe driver before the event and have a back-up plan in case the first plan changes.

• As a host of an event where alcohol will be present, consider limiting the amount of alcoholic beverages available to guests, have plenty of food and provide sober drivers if needed.

• Alcohol can serve as a social lubricant, but too much lubricant can lead to the wrong words slipping out. Fights of any kind result in negative outcomes and memories.

• Adult beverages are for adults. Providing alcohol to minors leads to major issues.

Traveling to enjoy the season with relatives and friends can create fun experiences and memories. Things to consider if travelling are:

• Plan enough time to get where you are going and let your friends or family know when you expect to arrive.

• Have some flexibility in your plans. Winter weather is part of the season so extra time to travel or changing plans may be necessary.

• If you want to share your holiday travels on social media, share them after you return home. This can help prevent visitors to your home that aren't your Facebook friends while you are away.

• Have a trusted neighbor or friend check your residence while you are gone and/or sign up for residence checks with the sheriff's office or your local police department during your absence.

We can all contribute to making the holidays safe and enjoyable. I wish you all a joy filled holiday season!

• • •

Troy Wolbersen is the Douglas County sheriff. In the Know is a rotating column written by community leaders from the Douglas County area.

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