Law enforcement hoping to keep ‘rowdy pirates’ safe during Gasparilla


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The 105th Gasparilla is here and law enforcement is out in full effect to make sure all the pirates are safe.

More than 32 law enforcement agencies are working together to ensure everyone’s safety throughout the Gasparilla weekend.

“Our goal is to keep it as safe as possible for everyone and the community,” Tampa Police Department’s Special Events Coordinator Tom Beury said.

This is Beury’s 46th Gasparilla parade and invasion. He says through the year’s security measures have gotten tighter.

“In the early days there was no parking,” Beury said. “With our new parking plan, people can only park on one side of the street. That way the community has access and public safety can get through if we have issues.”

Not to mention, TPD has nearly 150 officers solely monitoring underage drinking. Those 150 are just a small portion of the more than 1,000 law enforcement officials monitoring behavior, controlling traffic and more.

Tampa Police Chief, Brian Dugan, says traffic is the biggest challenge during Gasparilla.

“When you are shutting down streets and if people aren’t really familiar, they think I can just go down this street, but they can’t,” Dugan said. “We have a traffic problem here already, and when you’re putting hundreds of people in the streets, it creates more of a traffic problem than anything else.”

TPD, as well as more than 30 other law enforcement agencies, are monitoring the heavy traffic on the ground and at TPD’s Real Time Crime Center.

Following the parade, the city of Tampa will begin cleaning up and law enforcement officials will begin opening blocked off streets.


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