Patrols stepped up for holiday
There will be more law officers on the streets during the New Year’s holiday, although agencies say they are expecting the Year 2000 celebrations in to be low-key compared with those in other areas, including South Lake Tahoe.
Sgt. Hal Koehncke of the California Highway Patrol office in Truckee said CHP has done all it can to get more officers on patrol for the holiday.
“Locally, we are just being prepared,” Koehncke said. “No one has vacation or days off between Dec. 29 and Jan. 4. All personnel will be out on the road during that window. It will be about two and a half times as many as we normally put out, not because we expect anything, but just so we can be prepared.”
Koehncke said some CHP officers from the Truckee area will be assisting South Lake Tahoe, where about 50,000 revelers are anticipated.
“The remainder of people will be on patrol here,” he said. Koehncke said Truckee has no organized New Year’s celebration planned, and early indications show the holidays might not be hectic in Truckee this year.
“Our problem was minimal over the last week,” he said. “Normally we get hammered really bad. Everything was pretty routine. There hasn’t been any snow for a while, so the road hazards have been less.”
Nevada County Sheriff’s Office also has plans in place for New Year’s Eve, Capt. Gary Jacobson said.
“We will have extra staff on that night,” Jacobson said. “I myself will be working that night, and we will have additional patrol deputies, a transportation officer in case we have to transport prisoners to Nevada City and a number of volunteers to help in answering the phones that evening and early morning.”
However, he too said the holiday might not be so busy – at least no more than a normal year.
“We’re getting mixed information,” Jacobson said. “We’ve heard that Reno is lowering prices of rooms because no people are coming out.”
He said latest intelligence indicates that no organized groups are planning to disrupt government services. However, all the preparation has served its purpose, nonetheless.
“This may be one of the biggest non-events,” Jacobson said. “But it has caused all of the emergency services to sit down and work on contingency plans so we will be prepared in the future just as we were for the millenium.”
He advised residents to prepare for the New Year’s weekend the same way they would for a major winter storm – with bottled water, canned goods and dry mixes in the cupboard.
Truckee Fire Protection District is also gearing up for all contingencies, Fire Chief Mike Terwilliger said.
“We are doubling our staffing from four to eight people on New Year’s Eve,” Terwilliger said. “Our intent is to have a minimum of two ambulances and a fire engine staffed and available for unforseen events. We have also re-affirmed our mutual aid agreements with Donner Summit, Northstar Fire and Squaw Fire.”
He said the emergency operations center is primed and ready to go in the event of a crisis, and now includes a satellite phone recently purchased by the town and fire district. The satellite phone is independent of the normal phone system and will function unless satellites are out.
“Our information tells us it will be a non-event in the Truckee area,” Terwilliger said. “It will be fun to watch what happens in New York three hours earlier.”
He said the fire district has upgraded all of its equipment.
“We’ve done all the stuff, tried to confirm as much as we can that all of our embedded chips are compliant, as far as heart monitors and other equipment,” he said.
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