Officials: Safety and Security High Priorities for New Year's Day in Pasadena

Police, Fire officials emphasize awareness and cooperation

Published : Wednesday, December 19, 2018 | 12:42 PM

Announcing New Year's Day security measures at Pasadena City Hall on Wednesday: At left, Jesse Baker, Special Agent in charge of the Los Angeles field office for the U.S. Secret Service; at upper right, Pasadena Fire Chief Bertral Washington; at lower right, newly-named Chief of Police John Perez.

The yearly countdown to the 130th Rose Parade and 105th Rose Bowl game has begun, and here is the message: Dress warm, be watchful, say hello to your neighbors, and leave your couches, ladders, tents, pets, and drones at home.

“Our number one priority is the safety and security of all of our guests, participants and all others who play a part in the success of our events,” said David Eads, CEO of the Tournament of Roses, at a morning public safety press conference Wednesday.

Representatives of the Pasadena Police, Pasadena Fire, and the Department of Homeland Security were on hand to discuss the event’s safety planning efforts.

Pasadena Police Chief John Perez told the assembled media, “This [security] is something we do year-round with our partners in the region, as well as with other states, and we take it very seriously.”

“Safety and security is everyone’s responsibility when you come to these events, to stay aware of your environment,” said Perez.

Going into more detail, Perez said drones will not be allowed in the area on New Year’s Day.

“Leave them at home,” he said. “We have responses in place to stop drone use and other security measures that are both visible and concealed.”

Colorado Boulevard traffic along the parade will be closed at 10 p.m. December 31, and will re-open following the parade, said Perez. Cross traffic at some major intersections will be allowed until 6 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

Pasadena Fire Chief Bertral Washington emphasized the safety theme, saying, “We’re going to have thousands of people camped out along the parade route, and our job is to make sure they enjoy that evening.”

Washington also noted that temperatures will be in the low 40s on New Year’s Eve, and recommended that parade goers wear layers, and have gloves and head covers.

This being Southern California, Washington also recommended sunscreen and water for later in the day.

Pasadena firefighters will be on patrol throughout the parade route watching for illegal bonfires. Small manufactured barbecues will be allowed on the route, said Washington, for those on the route.

Barbecues must be elevated at least one foot off the ground, said Washington, and be 25 feet or more from any buildings. A fire extinguisher must also be available. No other fires or fireworks will be allowed, added Washington.

Sofas, ladders, and tents are also not allowed.

Washington also recommended that parade-goers take note of their exact locations before setting up chairs, so in case of any emergency, police or fire will know where to respond.

A variety of federal agencies will be providing support for the day’s events, noted Jesse Baker, Special Agent in charge of the Los Angeles field office for the U.S. Secret Service,  who said that the twin events in Pasadena are rated Special Events Assessment Rating (SEAR) Level 1 (the highest level on a scale of 1 to 5).

SEAR events are those preplanned special events below the level of National Special Security Events that have been submitted via the annual National Special Event Data Call, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The majority of these events are state and local events that may require support from the federal government.

“This falls right in line with the Super Bowl, or similar events,” said Baker.

According to Baker, representatives from the Homelands Security Investigations, FEMA, Customs and Border Protection, TSA National Protection and Programs Directorate, Office of Infrastructure Protection, the US Coast Guard, as well as the FBI, and the ATF, will be on hand at both the parade and the game.

“The great advantage of utilizing these agencies is a diverse set of skills and viewpoints that they bring to any problem or situation,” said Baker.

“Leveraging their talent and different backgrounds and perspectives creates new ideas and proposals and it avoids groupthink,” he added.

“The Pasadena Police Department has a thorough plan to leverage these federal assets,” said Baker, noting “It sort of reminds me of a large puzzle when you first see it. You have all these individual pieces that when you look out at them, not amount to much, but somehow you put them together in just the right way.”

Finally, said Perez, “The “see something, say something” principle is important, stay aware of your environment, and please use the cell phone apps as well as to call police in any emergency situation.

“We create one large community here on New Year’s Day,” said Perez. “Within it, we have a lot of small neighborhoods. We ask that you become familiar with each other, that you say hello to your neighbors and the public safety officers who will be there the entire time you are.”

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