Thursday, June 7, 2012 | 2 a.m.
Beyond the Sun
Authorities considered that double-digit number a success: It accounted for all felony and misdemeanor arrests at the three-day event — billed as the largest dance-music festival in the United States — during its debut weekend in Las Vegas.
This year, police hope to make that number even smaller — or at least not exceed it.
“We are very well prepared for this,” department spokeswoman Laura Meltzer said. “We want to keep the police involvement to a minimum.”
Organizers expect upwards of 345,000 people to attend this year’s three-day shindig, which starts Friday. Festival hours run from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.
Metro’s event planning group started preparing for the 2012 festival soon after the final attendees walked out of the speedway last year, she said.
The group met with representatives from Insomniac, the festival producer, and heard their plans for this weekend, Meltzer said. From there, Metro analyzed how last year’s event went from a law enforcement standpoint and made tweaks and additions where necessary.
“We are planning for the larger numbers of people expected,” she said. “Because of the unique nature of this city, we have a lot of these large events.”
The department isn’t releasing an exact number, but Meltzer said about 500 officers will be policing the festival throughout the weekend — mostly dealing with crowd control, traffic issues and illicit drug use.
Police said they would enforce a zero-tolerance policy regarding illegal drug use. Last year, police arrested 26 people for drug-related felonies.
“We want people to come and enjoy what they came for, which is the show,” Meltzer said.
Authorities said attendees should expect traffic tie-ups again, although police made some changes to traffic patterns this year, she said.
Police also encourage attendees to stay hydrated throughout the event. Insomniac is setting up multiple water stations around the speedway to accommodate the crowds, Meltzer said.
The National Weather Service predicts high temperatures will reach 101 degrees Friday, 97 degrees Saturday and 91 degrees Sunday during the day. Overnight lows are forecast to fall into the 70s.