" It's to the point Frankly, where we just have to do something" said Butte County Sheriff Jerry Smith. It's an annual Chico tradition as thousands make their way to the Sacramento River to float, drink and party during Labor Day Weekend. But for local law enforcement agencies, the celebrations spell disaster. " It's a matter of time before we have something catastrophic occur" said Sheriff Smith.
That's why Butte County Sheriff Jerry Smith is asking the Butte County Board Of Supervisors to sign a resolution that urges the California legislature to ban the possession and consumption of alcohol on the river during Labor Day Weekend. " We're merely asking the board to put forth a support message to the state of California to allow them to get enough support to pass a state law to limit alcohol on state property" explained Sheriff Smith.
The proposed resolution would only ban alcohol on certain sections of the river, starting from the Gianella Bridge, and downstream nearly 6 miles. Sections of Butte and Glenn county will both be affected, but Sheriff Smith says both counties are on board for the resolution. " For us to just stand back and continue to throw tens of thousands of dollars at an unsanctioned event is just ridiculous" explained Sheriff Smith. And many Chico States students agree. " It has gotten out of control the last few years, but it's like whack-a-mole, you try to squash it here and it's just gonna pop up in another place" said Chico resident Chris Wheatley. Chico State student Carol Garcia adds " I think that would be great if they could make it to where you don't have alcohol around the river. I mean it's great people go floating, that's cool, but I think you could have a lot of fun being sober".
The resolution will be presented to the Butte County Board of Supervisors during Tuesday's meeting. Sheriff Smith is also asking for the support of assemblymen Dan Logue and Jim Nielsen.
Sheriff Smith says he wants the alcohol ban in place before Labor Day weekend this year. Similar bans have been put in place in Sacramento County and Placer County.