Cops gear up for Election Day | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Cops gear up for Election Day

William Ferchland

South Shore law enforcement agencies will shift gears from covering a quiet Halloween to a potentially volatile election as high voter turnout over high stakes is expected.

Lt. Terry Daniels of the South Lake Tahoe Police Department said the number of officers on patrol will increase today to ensure an orderly election.

“We’ve never done this before,” Daniels said of the increased security.

Officers won’t be inside any of the precincts within city limits but will be close by. And while the increased presence of law enforcement isn’t in response to any specific threat, the measure is an indication of the range this heated presidential election contains.

William Schultz, the registrar of voters of El Dorado County, has taken several precautions this election, including a law enforcement escort for the ballots driven from South Lake Tahoe to Placerville.

“I do not expect any problems whatsoever but the prudent thing to do is be ready,” he said.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Department will follow normal procedure by stationing a deputy at each precinct. Yet with warnings of voter intimidation and new electronic voting machines, uniformed deputies will be on heightened alert for suspicious activity, Sgt. Tom Mezzetta said.

Per instructions from the Douglas County Clerk’s Office, deputies will check each voter for a voting receipt before leaving the precincts. Briefcases and other items may be checked. Campaign buttons will be ordered removed or hidden from view.

Mezzetta referred to a $500,000 bounty floating around for anyone who hacks into the voting systems. Deputies will look for any tampering of the machines.

“This year, especially with the new (voting) machines, the officers have a little bit more responsibility,” he said.

As for Oct. 31, activity was subdued at the lake. Douglas County authorities reported blasting caps had been taped to the window of an automobile parked in the Carson Valley along Meadow Vista Drive. The caps detonated, resulting in slight damage to the vehicle. There were no injuries reported and authorities believe the explosives were not meant to hurt people.

Authorities said the celebration was subdued because Halloween fell on a school night, and adults took precautions.

“It was a very orderly Halloween,” Daniels said. “We had no arrests or special problems associated with the holiday.”

– E-mail William Ferchland at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com


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