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Police security tight for Gasparilla parades

Posted: 4:43 PM, Jan 20, 2016
Updated: 2016-01-20 21:44:05Z
Mark House has enjoyed living in Tampa for about 25 years. That entire time he also taken in the Gasparilla festivities. This year will be no different, despite recent terror threats.
 
"We live a couple blocks from Bayshore and feel totally safe," House said.
 
House savors all the sights and sounds from the parade route. He’s a proud pirate and a proud citizen, refusing to let the recent terror attacks affect his life.
 
"If we do something different then you are just succumbing to what the terrorists want. That means they won, and we cannot let that happen," House said. 
 
University of Tampa College student Mary Galske couldn’t agree more 
 
“Anything can happen anywhere, and you can’t live by not going out and having fun," Galske said.
 
Police want everyone to enjoy this more than one hundred year tradition.
 
"There is no significant threat to the city of Tampa that would prevent this event from happening," Chief Eric Ward said.
 
Tampa’s police chief was surrounded Wednesday by other top officials, who reassured citizens they are on top of it. 
 
The entire force of nearly 1,000 will be patrolling, assisted by 21 other agencies.
 
But Ward also stressed we live in different times and everyone needs to help protect one another.
 
The motto this year:
 
"If you see something, say something," Ward said.
 
Policies implemented years ago, like no tolerance for underage drinking, will be strictly enforced.
 
There will also be strict restrictions for boaters.
 
This year, there’s a new promise to crack down on anyone caught with a drone. FAA safety guidelines prohibit the use of the devices over large crowds. 
 
"I think that is a good idea because people do not know how to control those things. Can you imagine a remote control car in the parade? it is the same idea, " House said.
 
Beginning next week, a voicemail will go out to all parents and students reinforcing a no tolerance policy for underage drinking.
 
The Gasparilla Children's parade also continues to grow. Police said security will be extremely tight for that event also.