Security will once again be at an all-time high at the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl Football Game due to the rise in global terrorism.
And the cost of that protection is also rising.
In November, the Pasadena City Council voted to increase its security budget for the festivities from $1.1 million to $1.5 million.
In a staff report, Interim Police Chief John Perez called the increase “necessary due to the potential for [LA County Sheriff’s Department] to increase the hourly rates for personnel. … The increase also includes additional hours for increased staffing at New Year’s activities based on threat assessments. The possibility of adding personnel to ensure a safe event may occur shortly before events begin, allowing minimal time for review and approval by City Council.”
Last year, for the first time the parade route was closed to traffic the night before the parade which created a need for more personnel.
Costs associated with law enforcement services patrolling the parade route have steadily increased over recent years.
In 2017, the costs for services from the Sheriff’s Department for New Year’s activities totaled $1,031,931.
For the 2018 events, the costs for Sheriff’s Department supplemental services jumped more than $60,000, to $1,093,805, according to the staff report.
“Security to the infrastructure of the city of Pasadena and its holiday events remain paramount during daily operations. This season, Pasadena, along with its county, state and federal partners, will work in collaboration to provide safety to the egress of patrons visiting this fine city,” said Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson.
Besides Pasadena police and sheriff’s deputies, security will also be provided by the state in the form of California Highway Patrol officers, and federal authorities, including the Department of Homeland Security and the US Secret Service.
Undercover law enforcement officers will also patrol the parade route and the game. Local officials would not reveal how many agents would be operating undercover.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will also impose a no-fly zone over the parade and the Rose Bowl. Drones are also prohibited at the parade and the game.
Besides the regular police presence, there will be a dozen so-called rapid response teams at ground-level and air surveillance that can monitor the entire parade route.
“Safety measures should be on everyone’s mind, even down to the smallest detail such as removing valuables from plain sight in a vehicle, securing purses to your body, parking in lighted areas, and being ever so aware of your surroundings,” Clawson said. “During parade and game operations, robust security measures will be in place to ensure safety of our visitors and participants alike.”
Over the past several years, law enforcement officials have been forced to be ready to respond to terrorist attacks locally and internationally when planning security for the parade. This year is no different.
In early December, four people were killed as the result of a shooting spree in Strasbourg, France. Cherif Chekat, 29, the man believed responsible for the shootings, was shot dead after police confronted him. The Strasbourg shooting was the latest in a series of deadly attacks that have claimed more than 200 lives in France since 2015.
In the 2018 parade, increased security focused on elevated areas along the parade route in response to the shooting in Las Vegas during a music festival which left 58 people dead and hundreds injured.
For the 2017 parade, officials put up barricades after the three suicide bombers struck outside the Stade de France in Saint-Denis during a soccer match. That attack was followed by several mass shootings at cafés and restaurants and a suicide bombing that left more than 100 people dead.
At the 2016 parade and football game, security was increased after the terror attack in San Bernardino, when an ISIS sympathizer opened fire during a Christmas Party, killing 14 people and wounding 22 others.
No known threats have been made against either the parade or the game, authorities have said.
“People will come to Pasadena and be safe, but we also want them to feel safe and enjoy all of the memories the city of Pasadena has to offer,” Clawson said.
As security increases to an all-time high, arrests made between noon on Dec. 31 and 6 p.m. New Year’s Day in Pasadena continue to decrease.
Three people were arrested along the parade route of the 2018 parade on suspicion of public intoxication and one person was arrested for an outstanding warrant for unlicensed driving.
Five people were arrested at the Rose Bowl game, three for attempting to get out onto the playing field from the stands and two for public intoxication.
For the 2017 parade and game, police arrested seven people for public intoxication and trespassing. n