Surveillance cams, undercover cops to monitor parade crowd

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 6:03 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 15 at 1:26 AM

DALLAS — Dallas police are preparing to deal with more than 250,000 fans expected to attend the Mavericks victory parade on Thursday morning.

The department will monitor everything out of the Fusion Center and two command centers. They’ll keep a close eye on what's happening with the parade crowds. DPD will use downtown surveillance cameras and a live view from its helicopter.

“It gives us awareness if the crowds are getting too big and if there's a fight that we need to apply additional resources,"explained Lt. Todd Thomasson, who runs the Fusion Center.

Police are trying to avoid what happened in the 1993 parade following a Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl victory. It turned from celebration to riot and 18 people were hurt with more than a dozen others arrested.

So Chief David Brown is planning security for this parade himself. “I’m in charge of the parade planning for the city," he said. "It's not delegated, so if it goes bad, it's my fault."

The department is working with a joint terrorism task force to make sure citizens are safe. There are bomb dogs that will sweep the crowds, and the department will test the air for any kind of chemical or biological weapons.

"We are doing testing to get a barometer before the event, and then testing during the event to see if there's any elevation to those levels," Brown said.

Police promise that anyone who makes trouble will be arrested. “If you plan on coming to downtown and causing problems, we will quickly deal with you," Brown said.

Police said you'll see a lot of officers, but 60 percent of them will be operating undercover in plain clothes, feeding information back to commanders.

You may not see them, but they'll be watching you.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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