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SLOPD briefs city officials on Mardi Gras precautions 

There will be lots of advertising, warning ruffians to stay away.

There will be lots of meetings with everyone from the Chamber of Commerce to bar owners and frat houses. And there will be lots of cops on the street: lots and lots and lots of cops. About 400, if the San Luis Police Department’s estimates are correct.

On Tuesday, Lt. Steve Tolley and other police officials presented their department’s plan for Mardi Gras — which they say will run from Feb. 3 until Feb. 8, or “Fat Tuesday� — to the City Council.

The Power Point presentation drew few questions or comments from Council members.

Tolley said that officers started planning for this year within weeks of last year’s riots. In June, they started laying out specific strategies.

On the surface, that plan looked cheery. It talked about the firm but friendly interactions that officers would have with pedestrians and merrily maintained that “students are not the enemy. We need students’ help!�

But the cold facts show that the police department is viewing Mardi Gras with a grim face.

On Friday and Saturday nights, about 400 officers from about 20 different agencies will be on the streets. Two hundred of them will be in foot teams, on motorcycles, ATVs, horses, and bicycles and will center their attention on California and Foothill boulevards. Using traffic and pedestrian diversion plans, their job will be to keep crowds from forming.

Another 50 officers on motorcycle and bicycle will do the same thing downtown. At the same time, a “Rapid Deployment Team� made up of the CHP’s Special Operations Team will be ready to move at a moment’s notice.

Plainclothes officers and agents from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control will wander around videotaping people, and other officers will patrol DUI checkpoints throughout the city.

At a central incident command center located at the Ludwick Community Center, more officers will direct forces around the city.

People who police think are violating any ordinance will be subject to triple fines and administrative citations.

Will all this work cost more than the riots themselves did last year? Tolley admitted that it could be close, but that the point of the planning is to prevent injury, death, and property damage.

“That’s our main goal, to make the public safe. That’s the first part of our mission,� he said. “That’s a difficult thing to put a price tag on.�

— Abraham Hyatt

 

 

Mardi Gras invitees

According to the San Luis Obispo Police Department, these law-enforcement agencies will be assisting city cops as they patrol the streets of SLO from Feb. 3-8:

• California Highway Patrol

• San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department

• Cal Poly University Police Department

• California State University Critical Response Unit

• California Department of Justice

• San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office

• San Luis Obispo County Narcotics Task Force

• California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control

• Arroyo Grande Police Department

• Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department

• Atascadero Police Department

• Pismo Beach Police Department

• Santa Maria Police Department

• Paso Robles Police Department

• Atascadero State Hospital Police Department

• Morro Bay Police Department

• Cuesta College Police Department

• Union Pacific Railroad Police Department

• Lompoc Police Department

• FBI

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