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Private security demands skyrocket with local agencies committed to Gasparilla and NHL weekend

Posted at 6:09 PM, Jan 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-24 18:09:37-05

TAMPA — Graig Paglieri has called Tampa home for the past 12 years and now he has a favorite spot, American Social.

"It's fantastic. It's long overdue. I pretty much come here two or three times a week," said Paglieri.

American Social is a first of its kind restaurant on Harbor Island covering 15,000 square feet.

But come this weekend they are expanding to meet the demand.

"We will add an additional 10,000 square feet to make it 25,000 square feet for a Gasparilla party," said Adam Perhosky, the marketing director for the restaurant.

Owners are renting out extra space. It's their first pirate invasion since opening in October, but with a sports oriented theme, the NHL is also making this home base during the all star weekend.

"It's going to be awesome!" exclaimed Pehosky.

It will also be a lot of responsibility. 

"Our biggest concern on Gasparilla is the safety and security of our staff and of course our guests," said Perhosky.

All Tampa police officers with 21 agencies assisting will descend on Bayshore Boulevard and downtown. That means businesses like American Social had to turn to private firms and with two major events it proved to be more difficult.

"We went through different companies and were actually rejected by some of them because of the prior commitments that they had," said Perhosky

Six plus weeks of persistence netted results.

"We will be all over the place. 45 security officers throughout the venues, 12 off duty officers as well as a couple of undercovers," said Perhosky.

And a lot of the extra protection is coming from out of state. Multiple private security companies said the demand is so huge because of the combined events, that they had to go outside of Florida to accommodate everyone. Paglieri, who plans to be back here on Gasparilla, feels comforted.

"I think it's pretty smart. I almost wish that the events were spread out a bit," said Paglieri.

"Hey it's going to be awesome," Perhosky said with a smile.

And thanks to all the extra efforts he's confident it will be very safe too.