Keeping Avalon’s New Year’s Eve safe and sane

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CalendarThe Los Angeles Sheriff’s Avalon station rings in the New Year by ensuring residents and the nearly 3000 visitors that descend upon the island stay safe while enjoying the festivities.

Hugh Carson is a civilian dispatcher at the Avalon station. Carson has been on the force since 2003. He says the department beefs up patrols on New Year’s Eve by adding two deputies.

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Avalon station rings in the New Year by ensuring residents and the nearly 3000 visitors that descend upon the island stay safe while enjoying the festivities.

Hugh Carson is a civilian dispatcher at the Avalon station. Carson has been on the force since 2003. He says the department beefs up patrols on New Year’s Eve by adding two deputies.

A typical rotation, including the additional officers, consists of three to seven deputies and one sergeant. Carson says officers will adhere to normal shift rotation hours (though if circumstances warrant, the department will adjust accordingly).

The influx of visitors has to do with the annual New Year’s Eve Gala held at the Casino. “We get about 1000 to 1500 people turning out for the event,” says Carson. Coupled with other visitors partaking of the festivities—both on and off the water–and Catalina’s population can swell to 3000 souls.

Policing maritime revelers falls to the harbor patrol. When boaters fail to abide by patrol warnings for excessive noise or other infractions, the patrol calls on deputies to enforce the law.

Carson says onshore infractions are typically alcohol-related. Driving under the influence arrests are few, owing to the short distances between homes or hotels and bars and restaurants. Mostly, says Carson, deputies keep an eye out for signs of trouble — fights, rowdiness, vandalism. Carson says the department’s goal is to make sure everyone has a good time but also a safe time.

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