New Year’s Eve at Tahoe-Truckee: All hands on deck for law enforcement | SierraSun.com

New Year’s Eve at Tahoe-Truckee: All hands on deck for law enforcement

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — New Year's Eve figures to be a busy holiday this Thursday night as large tourist crowds join locals amid below-freezing conditions to ring in a sweet 2016.

While no DUI checkpoints are planned throughout the greater Truckee-North Tahoe region, several law enforcement agencies will have extra squad cars doing extra patrols from Thursday into the weekend, officials said.

"We will have pretty much everyone out who we can … we will be out in force," said officer Jeff Billings of the California Highway Patrol in Truckee, which focuses patrols on Interstate 80 and highways 28, 89 and 267. "If you're going to drink, then plan to stay where you are if you can … but if you happen to not be at a friend's house, there are plenty of taxis in this area.

"Life is much simpler if you go home in a taxi than if you get involved in a wreck and go to jail."

The Truckee Police Department is spreading a similar message.

"I think as we've seen from the Christmas holiday and even still today, the crowds are huge right now. Traffic is and will be heavy," TPD Chief Adam McGill said Monday. "People should expect delays and bring a lot of patience. Leave early to arrive on time for their destination."

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Aside from large holiday crowds and the likelihood many people will abide tradition and imbibe alcohol for New Year's festivities, another factor to consider is many Truckee-Tahoe roads will be slick all week long considering recent snow storms and low temperatures.

"We're hoping people are using designated drivers and (transit services) … especially with the icy conditions compounding everything," Lt. Fred Guitron of the Placer County Sheriff's Office Tahoe City substation said Tuesday.

According to the National Weather Service, the low temperature forecast for Truckee is 2 degrees overnight Thursday and 0 degrees Friday night.

On the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, the Washoe County Sheriff's Office will have "triple the staffing" Thursday evening in Incline Village/Crystal Bay, said Lt. Jeff Clark, with a focus on the casino corridor at the north state line, and at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, where the largest crowds are expected.

The city of South Lake Tahoe, meanwhile, hosts the fifth annual SnowGlobe Music Festival next to Lake Tahoe Community College from Dec. 29-31, meaning crowds will be in the several thousands.

As has been the case for years, thousands of people also are expected to gather at the Stateline casino core Thursday night, meaning U.S. Highway 50 may be closed to through traffic for public safety, according to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

Further, the Nevada Highway Patrol "will be at full staffing" Thursday night on the lake's Nevada side, with a focus on casino row, Trooper Duncan Dauber said Tuesday, in an effort to apprehend impaired drivers.