It's been five years since the Sacramento County imposed a ban on the consumption of alcohol on the American River during holiday weekends.
During those holiday weekends, law enforcement and rescue crews boost their efforts to ensure everyone can have a safe and fun holiday floating experience. But is the cost worth it? Is the holiday ban actually working?
When the ban was instated, lawmakers said it was a response to the increasing population of drunk rafters and revelers floating down the river causing trouble and creating a more dangerous environment for themselves and others. However, as law enforcement and rescue crews would soon find out, those seeking an alcohol-fueled trip down the river don't need a holiday as an excuse to float.
It was two weeks after the 2011 Fourth of July festivites that . Though rescue crews and law enforcement officers had increased their presence along the river, they could not enforce the holiday ban.
The ensuing debauchery resulted in more than 10 arrests by Sacramento County Sherrif’s deputies and anywhere between 50 and 60 water rescues performed by Sac Metro Fire search and rescue teams. At least two people had to be transported for medical treatment following one assault and at least one undiagnosed treatment was performed, resulting from a preexisting medical condition, Sac Metro fire officials explained.
Now in 2012, Sac Metro Fire assistant chief Walt White explained the holiday float along the river was a mostly family friendly environment.
The Sacramento Bee reported many who took to the American River over the Fourth of July acknowledged the alcohol ban, though there are always a few who somehow forget. According to the report, crews from Sac Metro and other neighboring rescue and law enforcement teams will be vigilant during the holiday's following weekend, stepping up patrols.
As the weekend quickly approaches, it seems eyes will again turn to the American River and the question may come up: Is the holiday weekend ban of alcohol on the American River working?