Monday, March 16, 2009

Preparing for St. Patrick's Day

Excitement is brewing over Kansas City’s 36th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and its associated celebrations tomorrow. The weather is supposed to be gorgeous, and a new route through Midtown makes it all the more interesting. Many people have asked what KCPD is doing to prepare for this event, and I can tell you that it’s a lot.

First, our officers have been meeting for months with parade organizers, Westport business owners and neighborhood associations near the parade route to work out how to keep the community as peaceful as possible while fostering a fun environment.

The department’s physical work on the parade route starts tonight when Parking Control officers will put up signs advising anyone parked on the parade route (along Broadway, from Linwood to 43rd St.) to move their cars. If they’re not gone by 6 a.m. tomorrow, we will be forced to tow them. Officers will begin setting up the parade route by 8 a.m. and closing off streets. The actual parade begins at 11 a.m.

The biggest difference for us between having the parade Downtown and having it in Midtown will be the lack of concrete barriers. Police officers will be charged with keeping parade-goers out of the streets while the parade is in progress. As always, Kansas City’s no-public-drinking ordinance will be in effect, and officers will have no tolerance for those who break that or any other law. In addition to uniformed officers, several under-cover officers will be in the parade crowd, as well, ensuring that no illegal activity is taking place that could ruin the fun for everyone else.

We know the revelry will continue after the parade, and we encourage everyone to celebrate, but to do so responsibly. To keep the peace, we’ll have a command post set up in Westport and 40 additional officers assigned to the area throughout the day. The Mounted Patrol will be out and about all day, and our Homeland Security Unit will oversee all the events to ensure the safety of everyone.

And let’s not forget the two KCPD officers who have been preparing for this more than anyone else on the department: Officer David Magruder and his canine partner, Soty. The team will be co-grand marshals of the parade, along with Kansas City Firefighter “Scooter” Martin. They’ll lead the parade in convertibles, and I give them my hardy congratulations.

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