Stateline ready for the crowds
As visitors flood the Tahoe Basin, both California and Nevada law enforcement agencies are preparing for a long holiday weekend.
Sgt. Lance Modispacher of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department said there is concern that New Year’s Eve falling on a Thursday could turn the whole weekend into a party.
“We are all on call for the weekend,” Modispacher said. “We have to realize that the people who flood the streets on New Year’s Eve might try a repeat performance Friday or Saturday nights.”
U.S. Highway 50 in Stateline’s casino core usually fills with 20,000 to 25,000 revelers New Year’s Eve. Law enforcement is stepping up its numbers this year as many officials view 1999 as their last year to practice before the millennium festivities.
Modispacher said on the Nevada side tonight there will be around 125 officers on the street. Besides Douglas County, the Nevada Highway Patrol and a few officers from the Carson City Sheriff’s Office and Nye County will be on loan.
“We’re spread pretty thin this week. We not only have to patrol Stateline, but the rest of the county and Topaz Lake as well,” Modispacher said. “The safety of individuals is the most important thing and to protect the property.”
Three satellite booking stations will be operating in the casinos for the average 100 arrests made during the evening.
“Some are booked into the jail and immediately pay their bail and get out, but it usually quells their attitude for the evening,” Modispacher added.
On the California side, South Lake Tahoe Police Cmdr. Rich McGuffin said there will be more than 100 officers out working. Those numbers include 40 officers from the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department. A contingent from the California Highway Patrol will be handling traffic control.
“Everybody works from the chief on down,” McGuffin said. “No one is off. We here to ensure that it’s a safe holiday. The vast majority of people don’t get out of hand. It’s a minority of folks that are up to create problems and they will be dealt with swiftly.”
There will also be a satellite booking station on the California side, but McGuffin said everyone will be transported to the jail.
“We’ll take them down there to get them away from the scene. Why cite a troublemaker and send them right back out in the crowd? It doesn’t make sense,” McGuffin said.
The California side will also have between six and eight mounted officers this year to help with crowd control. California and Nevada forces can cross the state line to assist if necessary. Traffic on U.S. Highway 50 will be halted around 9 p.m. to protect pedestrians, and redirected on the two loop roads behind Harrah’s Lake Tahoe and Horizon Casino Resort. The road will be closed from Stateline to Lake Parkway.
Modispacher said people who plan to be outside on the street for the midnight countdown need to be aware of their surroundings.
“If you see individuals getting out of hand and throwing things, you need to get out of the area. In the past, people have been hit in the head with champagne bottles,” Modispacher said.
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