Cops: `We’re ready’ |

Cops: `We’re ready’

There won’t be much celebrating this New Year’s for members of the local police departments.

All county deputies and city police officers can expect to work 12-hour shifts on New Year’s Eve, they learned during a briefing yesterday at City Hall.

Officers will be broken up into groups, which will patrol throughout the Y2K event, said Deputy Ellen Anderson.

At 6 a.m. on Dec. 31, half the officers will begin a 12-hour shift. At 6 p.m., officers who did not work the first shift will begin their own long shifts. Normally, public safety officers work shorter and often overlapping shifts.

“There are no leaves, there are no vacations – all hands will be on deck, and we will all be working 12-hour shifts for a minimum of 36 hours,” Anderson said. “And in the unlikely event that something occurs requiring people to work more than 12 hours in a day, we will cope and adjust. And if we have an emergency or a protracted need for our services, we will continue the 12-hour shifts as necessary.

“It’s a real cooperative effort between the police and the sheriff,” Anderson said. “And the groups are just an organizational thing. The purpose of it is that if we have a call, one group can respond, while the other groups will stay, poised for other calls. We will be able to handle multiple calls for service at the same time.”

During the Y2K event, an “incident command system” will be set up in the basement of the County Courthouse to monitor and direct all groups, as well as other public safety employees, Anderson said.

“We’ve been working on this so long – 10 months and close to a year on some aspects – and we’ve done our planning and homework. We feel very confident that we’re ready,” Anderson said.

However, in the event of Y2K-related glitches, the county will establish 10 aid stations: at fire stations in Aspen, Snowmass Village, Aspen Airport Business Center, Basalt, Old Snowmass, Redstone, Thomasville, Carbondale and the Pitkin County Health and Human Services building.

“And the aid stations go into effect only if three things happen simultaneously,” Anderson explained. “If, for a period of four hours or more, we lose power and phones.”

However, Anderson stressed that the aid stations “are not shelters,” but rather communication links where people faced with emergencies can access a radio to call for help.

“It’s highly unlikely that the aid stations will need to go into effect, but they are our contingency plan,” Anderson noted.

Whether or not any Y2K glitches occur, area citizens, and people throughout the country for that matter, are being urged to stockpile enough food and water, alternative heat and lighting sources, and other sundries in order to be self-reliant for up to 72 hours.

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