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December 26, 2012
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Douglas prepares for annual New Year's Eve at Stateline

It's been a while since Stateline saw 60,000 people celebrating New Year's Eve, but that doesn't mean that the Douglas County Sheriff's Office won't be ready for them.

Last year about half that many turned out on a Saturday night to ring in the new year. But the presence of snow, which was sorely lacking last year, might help boost those numbers.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office is preparing by working with officers from numerous other agencies, including Nevada Highway Patrol, South Lake Tahoe Police Department, El Dorado County Sheriff's Office, California Highway Patrol, and the FBI, according to Patrol Capt. David Aymami.

Due to the crowd in the Stateline casino core area during the event on New Year's Eve, Highway 50 may be closed to vehicle traffic in the evening if necessary. Should that happen, vehicle traffic will be diverted around the Stateline casino core area using upper and lower Lake Parkway Drive.

Aymami said drivers through the Stateline area on Monday night should allow an extra 15 minutes to get to their destination, and should be prepared for winter weather by carrying chains.

Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini will be continuing his longstanding policy directing officers to take a nonconfrontational approach in their dealings with celebrants.

"The goal of the Sheriff's Office is to protect life and property while at the same time allowing celebrants to enthusiastically ring in the New Year," Aymami said.

But that doesn't mean that deputies won't take someone into custody if they're behaving in a way that puts themselves, officers or others in jeopardy.

Among ways to get arrested on Monday night are acts of rowdy behavior, fighting, throwing projectiles, vandalism, theft, narcotic violations, severe public drunkenness, possession of or discharge of fireworks, minors consuming or possessing alcohol, or any other act that disrupts a peaceful and safe environment for all in attendance.

And those attending the celebration in Stateline should remember that under county code glass or metal containers, regardless of contents, are prohibited in the casino core area on New Year's Eve. Any such containers, including their contents, will be confiscated for destruction by law enforcement.

"Alcohol or other liquids shall be in a plastic cup, paper cup or other similar vessel," Aymami said. "Area casinos are aware of this requirement, and will serve alcoholic beverages in plastic cups throughout the evening."

He also asked that parents keep track of where their children are during the celebration.

"Each year during the event, a large percentage of contacts and arrests are made of persons under the age of 21," he said. "The curfew in Douglas County is midnight on Dec. 31. Persons under the age of 18 are subject to citation for being in violation of this ordinance. Persons under the age of 21 who are in possession of alcohol or who have consumed or are under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be subject to arrest."

Both the sheriff's office and the Nevada Highway Patrol will be fully staffed both at Stateline and in Carson Valley to handle calls for service and checking for drunk drivers. Anyone who drinks alcohol during a New Year's Eve celebration is encouraged to have a designated sober driver or to take a taxi home.

Agencies supporting law enforcement efforts on New Year's Eve include the Douglas County Communications Center, Tahoe-Douglas Fire Department, Cal-Trans and Nevada Department of Transportation.

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The Record Courier Updated Dec 27, 2012 09:17AM Published Dec 26, 2012 04:28PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.