Law enforcement preps for Mardi Gras

Published: Feb. 8, 2015 at 11:44 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 9, 2015 at 3:03 AM CST
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - When the good times roll, sometimes trouble follows. Long before the first beads were thrown this weekend, local and state law enforcement were prepping for carnival season.

"We are out there in force. We have ISRT teams, we have the mounted patrols, we have uniform officers out there working, we have undercover officers out there working," said Baton Rouge Police spokesman Cpl. L'Jean Mckneely.

When it comes to Mardi Gras in the Metro Area, Mckneely explains that the city's list of family friendly parades usually means the biggest challenges for officers are traffic and crowd control.

"We have the occasional fight which is to be expected when you have individuals drinking, but I'd say that's probably the gist of it," said Mckneely.

Meanwhile in New Orleans, concerns about crime in French Quarter continue. On Friday, Louisiana State Police deployed an additional 42 troopers to assist with parade patrols. Undercover detectives will also be on hand to fight human trafficking and prostitution. On the roads between parades, officers will be looking for drunk drivers.

"There'll be more law enforcement officers throughout Louisiana on the lookout for impaired drivers. They're trained to spot them so no matter what your Mardi Gras plans are, if it involves alcohol, your best bet is to find a sober designated driver," said Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director for the LA Highway Safety Commission.

According to LeBlanc, the number of deadly accidents during carnival season doubled in 2014 from the year before, and most of those crashes involved alcohol. The Highway Safety Commission launched its Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, asking residents to make a plan for a safe ride home.

"Please don't hesitate to step in and stop others from driving impaired and don't ever get in the vehicle with an impaired driver. It's a particularly important message for our young people," said LeBlanc.

There are two more major parades rolling through Baton Rouge, including Spanish Town which will go right through the heart of downtown. BRPD warns that construction on River Road is causing some extra traffic headaches this year, so if you plan on attending be sure to arrive early to avoid delays. Mckneely also says that any cars parked on the parade route on parade day are subject to ticketing or towing.

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