PASADENA, Calif. — Acknowledging they have learned valuable lessons from this year’s terrorist attack in Brussels, authorities said Dec. 28 they are tightening security at the 128th annual Rose Parade with sturdier barricades and more checkpoints to control cars, as well as numerous other measures, including some they aren’t disclosing.
More than 1,000 police officers, including many in plainclothes, and dozens of bomb-sniffing dogs will work the 5 ½-mile parade route, Pasadena police Chief Phillip Sanchez told reporters at City Hall.
“There are no known security threats to the city of Pasadena, to the parade or to the football game,” he said.
“Nevertheless, we will ensure that aggressive measures are in place to do the best we can to mitigate concerns.”
Key among them will be the water-filled barricades that Sanchez said are designed to stop terrorists from racing cars onto the parade route, where hundreds of thousands of people will stand shoulder-to-shoulder Jan. 2, 2017 to watch a steady stream of marching bands, equestrian units and flower-covered floats.
The route runs through the popular Old Pasadena shopping district, past a community college and under a busy freeway.
Security will be just as tight at the 103rd annual Rose Bowl football game following the parade.
“Vehicles that will be entering the Rose Bowl area will all be scanned,” Sanchez said. “Bomb dogs will roam across those vehicles as well.”
Officers have been trained to spot suspicious packages in cars, he said, and for weeks police have been working with federal authorities to compile lists of suspicious license plates and vehicles.
People going to the game must pass through metal detectors and can expect delays. Anyone who shows up 10 minutes before it is set to start likely won’t see the opening kickoff.
“Arrive early, bring a lot of patience,” Sanchez said.
In planning the parade, Pasadena police officials have been working with the FBI, TSA, Secret Service, Homeland Security, ICE and other agencies.
Sanchez said they have studied the deadly terror attack on Brussels in March in which three suicide bombers killed 32 people and injured more than 300 at an airport and train station.
Two suicide bombers carried explosives into the airport in large suitcases and detonated them while another suicide bomber planted explosives on a train.
Authorities said it could take more than just preparation to ensure safety at the Rose Parade and game. Sanchez and others are repeating the security mantra: If you see something suspicious, say something to police.
“It will be quite evident to you that there is extra uniformed security there,” he said. “And you can just assume that if you see uniformed security there is likely either plainclothes security or cameras or some other technology that we will be utilizing to monitor and to ensure concentric circles of security for our parade-goers.”