Long weekend could generate bigger crowd at Stateline for New Year’s Eve

An estimated crowd of 45,000 gathered in the casino corridor to ring in the New Year Monday night.

An estimated crowd of 45,000 gathered in the casino corridor to ring in the New Year Monday night.

With a low temperature forecast for single digits and snow on the ground, this New Year’s Eve celebration promises to be a chilly affair.

A three-day weekend may contribute to the crowd at Stateline, which has been described as relatively tame in the past few years.

“We are planning for the worse and hoping for the best,” Undersheriff Paul Howell said.

Because there are so many people gathered at the Stateline casino core during the night, Highway 50 may be closed to through traffic for public safety, Sheriff’s Spokesman Sgt. Pat Brooks said.

“If that should occur, vehicle traffic will be diverted around the Stateline casino core area using upper and lower Lake Parkway Drive,” he said.

Stateline has seen plenty of snow during the last few days, so motorists should be prepared for winter driving, and give themselves extra time to reach their destination.

“They should have snow tires mounted on their vehicle or carry tire chains-cables with them,” Brooks said.

Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies will be present in the Stateline casino-core area throughout the evening, supplemented by officers and representatives of numerous other law enforcement agencies, including Nevada Highway Patrol, Nevada Department of Corrections, South Lake Tahoe Police Department, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol, and the FBI. Supporting agencies include the Douglas County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, Douglas County Communications Center, Tahoe-Douglas Fire Department, Cal-Trans and Nevada Department of Transportation.

Brooks said Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini has directed all deputies to adopt a nonconfrontational approach in their contacts with the celebrants.

“This method of enforcement has been extremely effective in past years,” he said. “The goal of the sheriff’s office is protecting life and property while at the same time allowing celebrants to enthusiastically ring in the New Year. Sheriff’s deputies will be on the lookout for behavior that endangers celebrants and law enforcement officers, 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 any other act that disrupts the goal of achieving a peaceful and safe environment for all in attendance.”

Glass or metal containers, no matter what their contents, are not allowed in the casino core during New Year’s Eve by county code.

“Any such containers, including their contents, will be confiscated for destruction by law enforcement,” Brooks said. “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.”

The drinking age in both Nevada and California is 21. Brooks said a large percentage of those contacted or arrested by deputies are under the legal drinking age. Anyone under 21 who’s in possession of or who has used alcohol could be arrested.

Curfew in Douglas County is midnight Thursday, which means people under the age of 18 could be subject to arrest or citation.

Brooks asked parents to keep track of their children that night.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and Nevada Highway Patrol will be fully staffed in both the Carson Valley and Lake Tahoe areas outside Stateline to handle calls for service and traffic enforcement, particularly targeting 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.


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