Officers arrest more than 400 at Gasparilla

February 1st, 2010 by

www.myfoxtampabay.com – The numbers are out on the amount of people arrested during the Gasparilla Parade of Pirates.

One-thousand four-hundred officers patrolled the parade. At the end of the day, more than 400 arrests were made — that’s about triple the number from years past.

Among those busted was NFL player Michael Richardson of the Kansas City Chiefs.

“We told them a month in advance what was going to happen. What was coming. For those that adhered to it, it was fun as usual. For those that didn’t they have to deal with the consequences,” said Lt. Ronald McMullen with the Tampa Police Department.

Public urination as well as excessive and underage drinking have been part of Gasparilla for years. So the city added more portable bathrooms and 50 additional officers in the neighborhoods to curb the problem.

Harold Walker says the new changes worked. He’s lived near the parade route for 25 years.

“By and large both the people — the Eventmakers and the city of Tampa and the police department — stepped forward and did a good job. If they maintain it till next year it’ll set the tone for Gasparillas to come,” said Walker.

In fact, many homeowners we spoke with say people behaved during the pirate invasion.

Rain kept many party goers away Saturday. Some wonder if Mother Nature made the biggest impact.

“It clearly wasn’t as out of control as the past. You know, how much of that was a byproduct of the police presence and how much was a byproduct of the weather, we’ll never know the answer to that question,” said Walker.

Seven juveniles under the age of 17 were caught drinking alcohol Saturday. That number is a lot less from years prior. Police say the drop is due in part to a recent education campaign at area high schools.


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