Security Heightens at Rose Bowl and Parade in Aftermath of San Bernardino Attack
Floats in the parade are typically made of thousands of roses. (Joe McGowan/Flickr)
For decades the annual Tournament of Roses Parade and companion Rose Bowl college football game in Pasadena have been one of the most popular holiday traditions in the nation.
It’s a distinction that has also made it among the top potential targets for a terrorist attack, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In the aftermath of the San Bernardino shootings earlier this month, the twin New Year’s Day events have earned DHS’s Special Event Assessment Rating 1 — a rare designation given to just a handful of annual national events.
Pasadena Chief of Police Phillip Sanchez says the ranking means greater access to federal resources to ensure public safety. “More resources that we’ve traditionally not had access to,” says Sanchez, speaking in his office at police headquarters just a short jog from the parade route along Colorado Boulevard.
“We get more people, more scanners, more cameras, more rapid response teams that I think will all be very helpful for creating a total circle of security around the Rose Bowl and along the parade route,” he says.
Authorities and event organizers say some of the added security will be obvious in the form of more cops on the street. Other measures will go unseen.
“If we're doing our job, you're not going to notice the more than 30 undercover officers that are going to be out along the parade route,” says Sanchez. “(But) you might notice that there's going to be more surveillance cameras along the parade route now and we’re not going to try and hide those.”
If you plan to attend the Rose Bowl game or the parade, organizers suggest bringing plenty of patience along with that extra layer of winter clothing.
But pack light, and be ready to unload your stuff into one of the thousands of clear plastic bags that organizers plan to hand out to attendees. “Please bring only what's minimally necessary because you're going to be checked,” says Sanchez. “We're going to look inside the bag even along the parade route, in the turnstiles when you're going to major areas of the grandstands.”
Authorities want to stress that they have not received any specific threats targeting the Rose Parade or bowl game. But Sanchez says the city and his department regularly make reassessments of their emergency response and counterterrorism strategy.
“We made them after Sandy Hook. We made them after Columbine and after San Bernardino,” says Sanchez. “We are looking at those kinds of threat analysis constantly. Fortunately for us, we have a very robust relationship with the FBI, with the Joint Terrorism Task Force and with many other federal law enforcement agencies.”
Sanchez says he’d love to actually watch the parade sometime. But, as in years past, he’ll be in command central. When the floats have all rolled back to the warehouse and the crowds have headed home, he’ll watch a replay of the parade and the game between the Stanford Cardinal and the Iowa Hawkeyes.
“Iowa hasn't been here in 25 years, so congratulations to them,” says Sanchez, who actually marched in the Rose Parade when he was a Boy Scout.
“But what I really hope for is that we have a great game, and that everybody arrives early and they return home safely.”
Overnight camping for the parade is permitted only on the night of Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015.
A position on the sidewalk may be maintained along the parade route beginning at noon Dec. 31. All persons and property, such as blankets, chairs and personal items, must remain on the curb until 11 p.m. At 11 p.m., parade spectators may move out to the blue “Honor Line,” but not past it.
Small, professionally manufactured barbecues elevated at least 1 foot off the ground are allowed on the parade route as long as they are 25 feet from buildings and other combustibles. A fire extinguisher must be readily available at all times.
Minors under 18 may be on the parade route from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. only if supervised by an adult.
Dress for cold weather! Children and seniors may need extra layers of clothing to avoid hypothermia. Remember hats and gloves.
Drink healthy fluids and consume nourishing meals to avoid dehydration.
“See Something, Say Something!” Call (626) 744-4241 to report suspicious activities and packages; or contact emergency authorities along the parade route.
For life-threatening emergencies, call 911. Remain calm; listen to all questions asked; provide short answers and know the address or easily identified landmarks from where you are calling.
Use common sense; celebrate responsibly and always designate a driver!
What You Can’t Do:
Appearance in the parade is prohibited for anyone who is not approved by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses. Stay off the street and do not pass the blue “Honor Line.”
The parade route and stadium are “No Drone Zones,” and aircraft is subject to being impounded.
Any tent, sofa, or box that can be used as stools or seats are prohibited on the parade route.
Unoccupied chairs are not allowed and will be removed from the parade route.
Bonfires are strictly prohibited and considered “illegal burns.”
ALL fireworks are prohibited except as part of scheduled official events.
No items may be sold along the parade route without a city permit.
Selling space along the parade route, other than grandstand seating, is illegal.
It is illegal to buy, sell or give away horns on the parade route.
No public areas — sidewalks, curbs, gutters, streets, ramps — may be cordoned or roped off.
No ladders or scaffolding may be used as elevation for viewing the activities.
Pets are not recommended along the parade route; keep them safe at home!
Throwing any object into the parade, or at passing vehicles or pedestrians the night before the parade is dangerous and prohibited. Violators will be cited and property seized.
No unauthorized parking. Vehicles blocking emergency travel lanes or parked in restricted areas will be towed at the owner’s expense, no exceptions. Pay attention to where you park and double-check for temporary No Parking signs and other restrictions.
No open containers of alcohol are permitted on public streets, sidewalks and all other public areas. Violators may be cited or arrested.
Sale, possession and use of illegal drugs will not be tolerated.
Smoking is prohibited along the parade route.
Be aware of illegal food vendors. Purchase foods only from permitted food vendors. Look for or ask to see the health permit, which is required to be available.
The Pasadena Fire Department responds to more than twice the number of calls on New Year’s Eve and New Year's Day than on average days. These calls include reports of hypothermia, illegal burning, miscellaneous medical issues, assaults and alcohol-related incidents. Be safe and smart!
“If You See Something, Say Something.” Call Pasadena Police at (626) 744-4241