Sheriff’s office prepares for New Year’s |

Sheriff’s office prepares for New Year’s

Record Courier Staff Reports

Staff Reports

Each year, upwards of 65,000 celebrants ring in the New Year in the casino core area of Stateline at Lake Tahoe and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has finalized the plan for dealing with the celebration.

“If previous years are an indication of what to expect this year, throngs of revelers will flow onto the highway in the casino core,” Sgt. Tom Mezzetta said. “For the safety of the celebrants, U.S. Highway 50 may be closed this year to all vehicle traffic. If necessary, all vehicle traffic will be detoured around the casino core using upper and lower Lake Parkway. Those drivers anticipating traveling through the casino core at that time should allow an additional 30 minutes of travel time.”

The sheriff’s office will be present in full force, Mezzetta said. Numerous other agencies will be augmenting the sheriff’s office. The Nevada Highway Patrol, the Carson City Sheriff’s Department, South Lake Tahoe Police Department, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol will be present.

Sheriff Ron Pierini has directed all officers to adopt a non-confrontational attitude in their contacts with the celebrants.

“This method of enforcement has been extremely effective in past years,” Mezzetta said. “The majority of celebrants appreciate law enforcement’s balance of protecting life and property while at the same time allowing the celebrants to bring in the New Year. Behaviors that will not be tolerated by law enforcement and will result in arrest include any act that places celebrants or law enforcement in jeopardy. Acts of vandalism, theft, narcotic violations, rowdy behavior or fighting, throwing projectiles, possession of or setting off fireworks, drunkenness, minors consuming or possessing alcohol or any other act that disrupts the goal of achieving a peaceful and safe environment for all in attendance shall be dealt with swiftly and surely.”

Open containers of alcohol are prohibited within the casino core. Glass or metal containers regardless of contents are prohibited in the casino core area and will be confiscated by law enforcement. The local casinos will serve beverages in plastic drinking containers beginning in the early hours of Dec. 31.

Last year during the New Year celebration, 28 people were arrested for violations of disorderly conduct, battery, fireworks, destruction of property and trespassing. During the 2003-2004 New Years celebration, 67 people were arrested and during the 2002-2003 celebration, 86 arrests were made for similar violations.

“Parents must be mindful of their children’s location and activities, especially during New Years,” Mezzetta said. “The New Year crowd that gathers in the casino core is neither beneficial nor intended for the participation by juveniles. Each year, a large percentage of the arrests and law enforcement contacts made during New Year’s Eve are of persons under the age of 21.”

The curfew in Douglas County is midnight on Saturday night. Persons under the age of 18 are subject to arrest and/or citation. All persons under the age of 21 who are in possession of alcohol or who have consumed or are under the influence of alcohol will be subject to arrest.