Bicycles, like these purchased for use during the RNC, will be used by police during Gasparilla
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -
Gasparilla season is upon us. The pirates are preparing to invade.
The Tampa Police Department is also preparing for the invasion of spectators along Bayshore Boulevard and downtown.
For the third year, the Tampa Police Department will have a zero tolerance policy for alcohol violations, underage drinking, and other bad behavior. Even city officials admit, the pirate fest was getting a bad reputation as a drunk fest.
Tampa Police officer Roy Paz says, "So, what we did is, the city of Tampa adopted what's called a zero tolerance policy."
At the University of Tampa and other schools, Officer Paz puts on a program to educate about responsible behavior. Officer Paz says, "We're trying to change that culture. We want people to come down. We want them to feel safe and want them to feel they can bring their families down to it and just have a blast."
The zero tolerance policy went into effect in 2010. Arrests immediately skyrocketed. Police strictly enforced the laws against underage drinking, open containers in neighborhoods, and public urination.
The crackdown resulted in more than 400 arrests the first year, and more than 300 arrests for the past two years.