New Year’s nightmare? Deputies are on guard for Dec. 31 Stateline chaos
With more than 50,000 New Year’s Eve revelers expected Saturday night at Stateline, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is girding for an unusually chaotic holiday weekend – and warnings motorists of potential detours.
“Due to the extraordinarily high volume of pedestrian traffic expected within the casino core area of Stateline during New Year’s Eve, U.S. Highway 50 may be closed to vehicle traffic for the safety of the celebrants,” sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Halsey said in a statement. “If that should occur, vehicle traffic will be diverted around the Stateline casino core area using upper and lower Lake Parkway Drive.”
In addition to the usual large number of New Years Eve revelers at Stateline, the SnowGlobe music festival, which runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday, will also increase street and pedestrian traffic, Halsey said.
“Drivers anticipating traveling through the Stateline casino core area on New Year’s Eve should allow themselves an additional 15 minutes of travel time,” Halsey said in the statement.
Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini has instructed his department to employ a non-confrontational approach with celebrants – a practice that the department says has been effective in previous years.
“Incidents that will most likely result in an arrest include acts that place celebrants or law enforcement officers in jeopardy; including 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 the goal of achieving a peaceful and safe environment for all in attendance,” said the statement.
“The crowd that gathers in the casino core area for the event is not conducive or intended for participation by juveniles,” Halsey’s statement said. “Each year during the event, a large percentage of contacts and arrests are made of persons under the age of 21.”
The department also offered a reminder: “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. Area casinos are aware of this requirement, and will serve alcoholic beverages in plastic cups throughout the evening.”
Officers of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office will be present in the Stateline casino-core area throughout New Year’s Eve, supplemented by officers and representatives of numerous other law enforcement agencies, including the Nevada Highway Patrol, Carson City Sheriff’s Office, South Lake Tahoe Police Department, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol, Nevada Department of Prisons, Placer County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI. Supporting agencies include the Douglas County Communications Center, Tahoe-Douglas Fire Department, Douglas County Road Department, Cal-Trans and Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT).