Police, Bars Prepare for Busy 24 Hours in East Lansing

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No matter if you're in California or mid-Michigan, New Year's Eve is one of the biggest bar nights of the year.

But for the first time in a long time - 26 years to be exact - East Lansing is preparing more for New Year's Day.

With New Year's Eve and MSU in the Rose Bowl, police and businesses are ready for a very busy 24 hours filled with celebrations. Students aren't sure what the atmosphere will be like.

"I'll be curious to see if there will be like some burning couches or anything," MSU Junior Emily Downes said.

There was plenty of that when the Spartans clinched their spot in the Rose Bowl in early December. More than 20 people have been arrested and arraigned on charges related to setting fires.

"It's an embarrassment to every body involved," East Lansing Police Department Captain Jeff Murphy said.

But now East Lansing Police are making sure history doesn't repeat itself after the Rose Bowl.

"Considerable amount of police presence, extra people above and beyond what we've already staffed," Murphy said.

That includes MSU, Meridian Township, and State Police, plus the Ingham County Sheriff's Office, all ready to step in at a moment's notice. But first, they need to get through New Year's Eve, which might not be too tough thanks to students being home for the holidays

"East Lansing is half empty," Murphy said. "The question that remains for us is how many people will come back to town?"

It might be a ghost town for now, but many students want to be on their home turf.

"A lot of people are coming back just to like be in East Lansing for the game," Downes said.

Many bars are offering New Year's Eve specials, but they might be more focused on New Year's Day. Harper's has never opened its doors on January 1, but it's making an exception this year for the Rose Bowl.

"We close at 4 in the morning, and then we have only a few more hours until the Rose Bowl game, so we have to get everything back to order after New Year's Eve, which is going to be crazy," Harper's bartender Ben Davis said.

No matter how crazy it gets, police are prepared. Law enforcement will be cracking down on drunk drivers and those people who take reactions to the Rose Bowl game too far.

"Whether it's New Year's Eve or the Rose Bowl, we're happy to have people in town, we're happy to have people celebrate," Murphy said. "We just ask that they do it responsibly."

Police remind everyone to use designated drivers or a taxi cab. They also warn that large gatherings can turn dangerous quickly, and could easily result in an arrest, even if you're just observing.

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