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Local parade organizers review safety plans in wake of deadly Wisconsin parade crash

Parade organizers and police review safety plans in wake of Wisconsin tragedy

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Parade safety is on the minds of police and parade organizers in the wake of the deadly crash into a holiday parade in Wisconsin.

Despite barricades, investigators said a domestic violence suspect plowed down parade participants and people watching the parade.

Five adults died, and at least two children are in critical condition. Dozens of others are being treated for injuries.

Santa Barbara Police spokesperson Sgt E. Ragsdale said, "I just actually spoke to our events coordinator and the terrible tragedy, absolutely terrible tragedy that happened in Wisconsin is going to be discussed tomorrow at a meeting."

They will be talking about things they can do to make the upcoming Milpas Holiday Parade as safe as possible.

"One of the most important things is, as we have said in the past, is if you see something suspicious say something. We are going to have dozens of law enforcement officers out there, as well as volunteers that are going to be insuring public safety," said Ragsdale.

If someones sees something out of the ordinary they are urged to call 911 immediately.

Barriers are considered standard procedure.

"In the past we have always had barricades, wooden barricades with metal A-frames."

They also use fire trucks.

"Santa Barbara City Fire does give us several staged fire trucks to prevent unauthorized vehicles from entering the end of the parade route or beginning of the parade route."

The meeting will cover that and more.

"We are going to absolutely discuss it here at the Santa Barbara Police Department. Our hearts go out to the community members and those that were seriously injured and those that passed away due to this terrible tragedy in Wisconsin."

The Santa Barbara Eastside Society is sponsoring the 67th Milpas Holiday Parade that begins on Dec. 11 from 5:30 to 7:30."

Eastside Society President Tino De Guevara said, "We are very dismayed to hear about the tragic events that happened in Wisconsin, however, we are working very closely with the Santa Barbara Police Department to ensure the safety of all participants and spectators. We will have floats, marching bands dancers, dignitaries and of course Santa at the end of the parade."

Members of the Santa Barbara High School Marching band will be in the parade.

Students said they are looking forward to performing safely after a year of canceled performances.

After the downtown holiday parade on State Street was canceled again this year La Boheme dancers accepted an invitation to be in the Milpas parade for the first time.

Teresa Kuskey Nowak said , "This is so devastating! We are all just searching for some normal. When you sign up for these parades you just want to give and receive love. From your group, your families, friends, neighbors and community. To be killed while performing is not something you think about. We are just horrified. My heart and prayers go out to everyone."

The Sheriff's Department will be patrolling parades in Goleta (Dec. 11) and Carpinteria (Dec. 4).

Other communities including Solvang, Santa Maria, Oxnard and Camarillo also have parades coming up, and they are focusing on safety, too.

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor of NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here

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