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SPD speaks on ability to provide security for 2022 Mardi Gras with current police shortage

(Source: Eric Pointer/ KSLA News 12)
(Source: Eric Pointer/ KSLA News 12)
Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 2:40 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The 2022 Mardi Gras season is only a few months away. Preparations for next year have brought up questions about logistics and security.

The Shreveport Police Department usually provides security for parades like the Krewe of Centaur and Gemini. Currently, SPD has a police shortage of over 100 officers, according to Substitute Chief Wayne Smith.

Smith says the shortage could affect the department’s ability to provide security for Mardi Gras. However, Smith said SPD would work with what they have if parades do roll for 2022 Mardi Gras in Shreveport.

“To be able to man a parade or any event of significant size, we end up having to draft people to do that and make adjustments where we can to make the event happen as safe as possible. So, we will do the best we can with what we have to work with. Certainly, we will explore asking for additional assistance, any agencies, anybody that we can of course, to make our city is safe,” said Smith.

In 2019, Smith said SPD provided hundreds of officers for parade security.

“The Centaur parade, which obviously is the larger of the two. We had 344 officers assigned to that detail and it cost somewhere around $79,600 dollars range just to make that happen. And Gemini which is was next parade, the smaller of the two, we had 302 officers assigned to the cost of around $63,000 plus dollars,” Smith added.

Smith said that some points along parade routes have more violence than others, but he said if parades roll this upcoming carnival season it will be no different than previous years with handling problematic areas.

“When it gets down to the part of the parade where everything goes. That seems to where we have fights and juveniles with alcohol, and you know things of that nature. We deal with, and over the course of time I think that’s getting better,” Smith expressed.

KSLA reached out to the krewes of Centaur and Gemini and they said they are meeting Shreveport and Bossier City city officials on October 26, 2021, to discuss 2022 Mardi Gras negotiations. The Krewe of Gemini said they hope that they reach an agreement, and the Krewe of Centaur said they are making usual preparations as if the parade is set to take place next year.

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