Sheriff: Please be cautious on New Year’s Eve |

Sheriff: Please be cautious on New Year’s Eve

Staff report
Photos by Jim Grant/Nevada Appeal News Service file photos Revelers packed Highway 50 in the Stateline casino corridor to celebrate the New Year in 2006. TOP: Krista Quijano and Rex Surlaria, both from Tracy, Calif., show their spirit while celebrating New Year's at Stateline last year. Officials are expecting a larger than usual crowd to ring in 2008.

With New Year’s Eve falling on the final Monday night football game, Sheriff Ken Furlong is urging people to be aware of the amount of alcohol they consume.

“If people start drinking when they watch the game, then stay to celebrate New Year’s, that’s a long evening,” Furlong said. “It could be problematic.”

He cautioned party-goers to determine a designated driver or alternate form of transportation.

“Please don’t drink and drive,” he said. “It’s just a night to be aware of. Be careful and cautious.”

Traditionally, he said, Carson City is relatively quiet on the holiday. He said the department will adjust shifts in anticipation of the evening, but more attention is usually given to Reno and Stateline.

“As we have in the past, we augment the Douglas County cops at Stateline with reserves,” Furlong said. “Additionally, we’ll send a mounted unit to downtown Reno.”

The annual Stateline celebration attracts about 65,000 people to the casino core at Lake Tahoe.

The weather is expected to be clear and cold, with the low at 12 degrees.

Douglas County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Jim Halsey said that as long as the roads are clear, weather doesn’t affect the numbers.

Halsey said motorists should expect Highway 50 through the casino core to close at about 9 p.m.

Halsey said traffic through the casino core will be diverted to upper and lower Lake Parkway.

“Those drivers anticipating traveling through the casino core that evening should allow themselves an additional 30 minutes of travel time,” he said. “Additionally, due to past poor road conditions caused by weather, anyone traveling in the area should have snow tires on their vehicle or carry tire chains with them.”

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office won’t be working the annual event by itself.

Other agencies include the Nevada Highway Patrol, Carson City Sheriff’s Department, South Lake Tahoe Police Department, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, Nevada Department of Prisons, Placer County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.

Agencies supporting law enforcement officers include the Douglas County Communications Center, Douglas County Road Department, Cal-Trans and Nevada Department of Transportation.

Halsey said transportation workers have been instrumental in assisting Douglas County with clearing and reopening of the roadway after past celebrations.

Douglas County 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 years past.

“The celebrants appreciate law enforcement’s balance of protecting life and property while at the same time allowing the celebrants to ring in the New Year,” Halsey said. “There are, however, behaviors that will not be tolerated by law enforcement.”

Any act that places celebrants or law enforcement in jeopardy will likely result in arrest, Halsey said.

Those acts include vandalism, theft, narcotic violations, rowdy behavior or fighting, throwing projectiles, possession or setting off of 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.

Open containers of alcohol are prohibited within the casino core area. Glass or metal containers regardless of contents are prohibited in the casino core area, and will be confiscated by law enforcement.

The curfew in Douglas County is midnight on New Year’s Eve.

“Persons under the age of 18 are subject to arrest and or citation for being in violation of this ordinance,” Halsey said. “All 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.”