Tampa police upgrade Gasparilla security with RNC technology
Cameras along parade route
6:04 PM, Jan 17, 2013
11:03 PM, Jan 18, 2013
In just over a week, pirates will take over Tampa's Bayshore and downtown areas for Gasparilla 2013.
This year, Tampa police are beefing up security and using equipment left from the Republican National Convention.
Police will use cameras from the RNC to keep an eye on the crowds. That includes those downtown and along the parade route.
Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor says she wants people to leave the event with beads, not handcuffs. "Sometimes fights will break out. We'll be able to identify that very early on before large groups get involved and get officers there very quickly. As I said before, crowd control management."
To maneuver through those crowds, you'll see some officers riding Segways, also from the convention. The RNC bike patrol team will hit the streets too. Chief Castor said, "They will be able to maneuver through the crowds more easily and obviously much quicker that officers on foot."
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says Gasparilla will not mark the end of the security upgrades. "These will live long beyond the RNC. These help us everyday police this community," said Buckhorn.
Dianna Rosado attended the event last year. Her family members are coming to town this time around to take part in the festivities. When told about the security measures, Rosado said, "I think that's great. A lot of people are going to bring their children and security's really important."
The upgrades will help enforce TPD's zero tolerance policy. That means no open containers off the parade route and no underage drinking. Adults with open containers of alcohol in unauthorized areas will receive a citation. It's $75 for the first offense, $150 for the second offense, $300 for the third offense and $450 for the fourth offense.