Belvidere Police offering free rides home on New Year’s Eve

BELVIDERE — The Belvidere Police Department will offer free rides home within the city limits on New Year’s Eve for anyone who does not wish to drive.

Officers will be available from 6 p.m., Dec. 31, until 4 a.m., New Year’s Day. Rides are only available to residences, not to bars or restaurants.

The number to call to arrange a ride is 815-544-2135.

In Winnebago County, Sheriff Gary Caruana reinstated his department’s Safe Ride Home program, thanks to a partnership with a local beverage distributor.

“LaMonica (Beverages) called me and asked if I would continue the program if they helped fund it,” Caruana said. “I said, ‘absolutely.'”

Caruana had previously announced he was suspending the program in light of budget cuts to help ease a $6.8 million deficit. The program costs the county approximately $4,000. LaMonica’s donation will depend on how many rides are given.

In 2016, six deputies who manned the program drove 25 people home. Two motorists were arrested by the department for driving under the influence.

Rides home within Winnebago County can be arranged from 10 p.m.,Dec. 31, to 5 a.m. New Year’s Day by calling 815-639-4674. R.

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