Eagle County law enforcement agencies report a quiet holiday | VailDaily.com

Eagle County law enforcement agencies report a quiet holiday

Local police departments gear up for the start of the high season, which means an increase in people and calls reporting intoxication

Town of Vail Police Department officer Greg Schwartz is seen at Vail Ski Resort in March.
Steve Peterson/Special to The Colorado Sun

Eagle County law enforcement agencies reported a quiet Thanksgiving holiday this year, with no substantial wave of calls about exploding turkeys or drunken disputes with extended family.

Vail Police Cmdr. Ryan Kenney said it was quite calm, but added that he did not want to speak too soon, as they typically see more calls heading into the weekend following holidays.

“The holiday itself is usually really good, right? People are happy to see each other. But come Saturday or Sunday, they’re sick of being in the same house with each other,” Kenney said. “They’re drinking too much, and so over this weekend is where we generally anticipate we’re going to have our increase in domestics and family disturbances.”

Vail police officers were called out on a theft from Lionshead Liquors, had to put down a deer that was hit by a car on Interstate 70 and responded to a “very minor” crash without injuries when a truck backed into a building, Kenney said.

Beyond that, Vail reported one instance of “deceptive use,” an offense category specific to the ski industry, where a patron of Vail Resorts used someone else’s ski pass to go skiing, he said.

Support Local Journalism

Avon Police Chief Greg Daly said his officers, too, were glad to have a calm holiday with just some traffic stops and routine calls to report.

“On Thanksgiving, a lot of people are enjoying themselves, so sometimes you can get, you know, alcohol-driven emotional at times,” Chief Daly said. “So, you can’t always guarantee it’s going to be a quiet day, but yesterday it seemed to be quiet.”

Jessie Porter, public information officer at the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, said it was quiet too. She was on call for the holiday but did not receive a single call, she said.

A representative of the Eagle Police Department said there were no noteworthy calls.

Thanksgiving weekend ushers in the high season in the Eagle Valley, with Beaver Creek set to open Monday, seasonal workers and second homeowners returning and tourists planning their winter getaways.

As the valley swells in size, so does the burden on local law enforcement.

Agencies in the eastern end of the valley are preparing for this by ensuring they are well-staffed and well-trained, and that new recruits have plenty of seasoned officers to lean on, Daly and Kenney said. This is most relevant for Vail, which sees a more significant increase in visitors, Daly said.

The late arrival of snow has kept things fairly calm, Kenney said. Typically, officers see the biggest swell in visitors — and in calls — immediately following the Christmas holiday, when many families come to the mountains to ski for the winter break.

“We stay pretty steady from Thanksgiving to Christmas. We have a fairly manageable group of visitors in that time,” Kenney said. “And then once Dec. 26 hits … that’s probably our busiest week of the year.”

Much of the seasonal increase in calls is due to an uptick in crashes and intoxication-related calls like driving under the influence. There is also, of course, an increase in deceptive-use calls at the resorts, Kenney said.

To cut down on intoxication-related calls and keep the community safe, Kenney and Daly advised locals and visitors alike to have fun responsibly.

“We are looking forward to a busy tourist season, and we want our guests to enjoy themselves and be safe, and that’s always a balance,” Daly said. “We want them to enjoy themselves, but, at the same time, to please respect our community when they’re here.”

Specifically, they encouraged people to make a plan for how they are going to get home safely before going out to the bars or to a friend’s house.

“We’re trying very hard to give everyone the opportunity not to drive and set up some other solution to (drunken) driving,” Kenney said. “Don’t wait until the end of the night to come up with a plan to get home. Do it while you’re sober and you’re making good decisions and stick to that plan.”

While Uber rides are sometimes difficult to find, upvalley areas have access to the local Ride Taxi service at 970-949-1111. A taxi may be expensive, but it is nothing compared to a DUI, Kenney said.

For a DUI, “the minimum cost is $10,000, and that’s very low — probably closer to $15,000 to $18,000 to get a DUI,” he said.

The town of Avon and the town of Vail also operate in-town buses with stops around the two respective municipalities. Nearly all of the valley’s larger resorts offer their own shuttle services.

Eco Transit operates two local bus lines – the U.S. Highway 6 bus and a valleywide “commuter” bus. Bus routes and schedules can be accessed online at Eaglecounty.us/transit/schedules.

Support Local Journalism