With unseasonably warm temperatures forecast to be in the 50s, with lows in the upper 20s, weather won’t be a deterrent to those ushering in the new year in Stateline on Tuesday night.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is preparing for the worst and hoping for the best with the annual celebration that draws thousands of people to the casino core each New Year’s Eve.
“Each year upwards of 60,000 celebrants ring in the new year in the casino core area of Stateline,” according to Sgt. Pat Brooks.
In 2011 and 2012, about 30,000 people turned out in Stateline with just a handful of arrests, and Douglas authorities are hoping that this year will see a similar result.
This year, in addition to the third annual Snow Globe concert in South Lake Tahoe, the Horizon is hosting the SWAT outdoor concert.
“The two special events are expected to bring additional people into the area,” Brooks said.
Anyone driving through Stateline on New Year’s Eve will find themselves either delayed or detoured.
“Due to the ordinarily high volume of celebrants within the Stateline casino core area during the event, Highway 50 may be closed to vehicle traffic in the evening if necessary for public safety,” Brooks said. “If that should occur, vehicle traffic will be diverted around the Stateline casino core area using upper and lower Lake Parkway Drive.”
While no storms are predicted, motorists should always be prepared for icy conditions, including having snow tires, or carrying chains.
Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini, who has many years of experience dealing with the New Year’s Eve crowds at Stateline, has directed deputies to maintain order without confronting visitors ringing in the new year.
“This method of enforcement has been extremely effective in past years, Brooks said. “The goal of the Sheriff’s Office is to protecting life and property while at the same time allowing celebrants to enthusiastically ring in the new year.”
There are lots of ways to get into trouble on New Year’s Eve in Stateline, including rowdy behavior, fighting, throwing projectiles, vandalism, theft, narcotic violations, severe public drunkenness, possession of or discharge of fireworks, minors consuming or possessing alcohol, or anything that disrupts a peaceful and safe environment for all in attendance, Brooks said.
In order to reduce the possibility of getting hit by a bottle, glass or can, Douglas County has banned glass or metal containers, regardless of content in the casino core area on New Year’s Eve. Officers will confiscate any cans, bottles or glasses they find along with their contents. Any alcohol or other liquids are required to be in a plastic or paper cup. Drinks sold by Stateline casinos will be served in plastic cups through the night.
New Year’s Eve in Stateline is no place for children. Brooks pointed out that a large portion of the people contacted or arrested by deputies are under 21 years old. Curfew for anyone younger than 18 in Douglas County is midnight. Anyone younger than 21 found with or under the influence of drugs or alcohol could be arrested.
Brooks said that there will be additional patrols both at Lake Tahoe and in Carson Valley to deal with service calls and traffic enforcement, with an eye out for intoxicated drivers.
“All persons who consume alcohol during their New Year’s Eve celebration are encouraged to catch a ride with a sober driver, or utilize a local taxi service,” Brooks said.
Douglas deputies will have some help at the party, including officers and representatives from the Nevada Highway Patrol, South Lake Tahoe Police Department, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol, and the FBI. Supporting agencies include the Douglas County Communications Center, Tahoe-Douglas Fire Department, Cal-Trans and Nevada Department of Transportation.