Rowdy New Year’s crowd expected at Stateline |

Rowdy New Year’s crowd expected at Stateline

Nevada Appeal News Service

Highway 50 through the Stateline Casino corridor may close at 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve in order to allow the annual celebration of the New Year that attracts up to 65,000 people to Lake Tahoe.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Mezzetta said that if the crowd is large enough to close the highway, motorists traveling through the area will be detoured around the casino core on 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.”

With the weather predicted to be clear and New Year’s in the middle of a three-day weekend, authorities are expecting a high turn-out.

“Sheriff Ron Pierini has directed all officers to adopt a nonconfrontational attitude in their contacts with celebrants,” Mezzetta said. “This method of enforcement has been extremely effective in past years. The celebrants appreciate law enforcement’s balance of protecting life and property while at the same time allowing them to ring in the New Year.”

However, some behaviors won’t be tolerated, Mezzetta said.

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“Acts that will most likely result in an 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 alcohol,

• or any other act that disrupts the goal of achieving a peaceful and safe environment for all in attendance.

Douglas County spends an extra $5,000 in overtime pay for the night, arresting between 30 and 120 people each New Year for fights, public drunkenness and other minor infractions.

Besides Douglas County, there will be officers from the Nevada Highway Patrol, Carson City, South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County, California Highway Patrol, Nevada Department of Prisons, Placer County and the FBI. Support for law enforcement will come from the Douglas County Communications Department, Road Department, Nevada Department of Transportation and Cal-Trans.

Flooding and rain kept the crowd down to an estimated 25,000 last year, down from 65,000 in 2005.