Stepped up security for Gasparilla parades

TAMPA, Fla. - More than 300,000 people are expected to show up for the Gasparilla day parade. Nestled in the crowd will be Tampa Police officers watching remotely through the lens of surveillance cameras.

"After the incident at the Boston marathon, that in essence changed the landscape of any large scale event," said Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor. "They're looking for suspicious packages, any type of unusual behavior, any disorderly conduct," said Chief Castor.

Chief Castor says she met with Boston's Police Commissioner after the bombings to bring back advice to Tampa about security measures that worked.

Bomb sniffing dogs will scan all Gasparilla floats before the day parade, all 140 of them. The parade route will be divided into sections with law enforcement teams ready to respond to trouble. 

It's security that's become the new standard after Boston.

"Everybody is more aware. Our whole society is more aware. We're all aware to look at packages and things that we're concerned about. It's just a continuation of what is going on unfortunately in the world," said Dr. Jim Von Thron, Captain of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla.

Tampa Police expect to get more calls about suspicious activity this year because of increased awareness. 

Chief Castor said there have not been any specific threats. "I want to assure everyone that there are no threats. There's no indication that we're going to have any problems whatsoever at any of the Gasparilla festivities," she said.

You'll also notice all police officers wearing neon yellow traffic vests and you're asked if you see something suspicious to say something.

"Let us check it out. If it turns out to be nothing, that's fine but you don't want to walk past something that could turn into a problem," said Chief Castor.

Click the link for tips on navigating Gasparilla this year .

Print this article Back to Top

Comments