Tighter security planned for DeSoto parade Saturday

Tighter security planned for DeSoto parade

jdeleon@bradenton.comApril 22, 2013 

BRADENTON -- In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Manatee public safety officials will boost security for one of the area's largest events.

The Bradenton Police Department and the Manatee County Sheriff's Office will increase manpower on the streets during Saturday's DeSoto Heritage parade. Other local law enforcement agencies will assist.

"Naturally, anybody in the country who is doing a major event is concerned about safety," Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski said Monday. "We reached out to every law enforcement agency in Manatee County."

Two bombs were set off April 15 near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring about 160 people. Since then increased security measures have been taken at public and sporting events worldwide.

Immediately after the bombings, Radzilowski said there were no plans to increase parade security, but that has since changed. Every sworn officer in the

Bradenton Police Department will be deployed the day of the parade.

Radzilowski said the Palmetto and Holmes Beach police departments, as well as the New College Police Department, will help with parade security.

"We know it was relatively short notice," Radzilowski said. "All the law enforcement agencies always work seamlessly together to help each other to provide the best law enforcement to the county."

The DeSoto Parade annually draws thousands of people to Manatee Avenue West between 39th Street West and downtown Bradenton.

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office, which will deploy about 100 deputies, will have two bomb-sniffing dogs on loan from the Tampa Police Department.

The dogs will be staged in areas readily accessible to the parade route if needed. They will not just randomly patrol the parade route.

"What we suggest to the people is that anything that seems suspicious, if they would just call 911," Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube said. "We will respond and do a walkthrough of the area."

"People just need to be more aware of their surroundings," Steube said. "This is no different but, based on what transpired last week, we want people to be more cautious."

Jessica De Leon, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.

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