Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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More than 100 BRPD officers to patrol parades this Mardi Gras weekend despite hiring woes

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BATON ROUGE - Two of the most popular parades in the capital city are set to roll this weekend, and you can expect a heavy police presence along with the festivities.

Both the Spanish Town and Southdowns parades are happening this weekend.

"Expect a good time, some beautiful floats, and some good people... and come catch some wonderful throws," King of Southdowns, Mike Raborn said.

And as with any big event, safety becomes a big concern. That's why BRPD says it's paying overtime to more than 100 officers this weekend.

"Officers volunteer to work those type of events. We provide the opportunity for them to come and make additional money by working overtime," BRPD spokesman L'Jean McKneely said.

New Orleans recently asked BRPD for officers to help work their parades due to an officer shortage there, but Baton Rouge police said they couldn't spare the manpower.

"We want to make sure we have everything we need here. We want to make sure we have allotted officers here to work the festivities in Baton Rouge," McKneely said.

BRPD is currently trying to fill 70 officer positions, but department leaders say those open spots are not affecting their ability to keep people safe along the parade route.

"We will have all our eyes and ears at the parades. We want everyone to be as safe as possible this holiday season," McKneely said.

Officials say officers will remain in the area long after the parades have rolled by.


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