The city of Santa Cruz is about to host the largest event it ever has.
The second leg of the Amgen Tour of California will race down Highway 1 and finish in downtown Monday.
And public safety – both for the viewing public, as well as for the cyclists – is weighing heavily on the minds of local law enforcement.
Street Smarts interviewed Traffic Sgt. Dan Flippo of the Santa Cruz Police Department, about preparations for the 750-mile event that will benefit medical research.
Street Smarts: How many officers from the Santa Cruz Police Department will be on the beat this holiday weekend, Monday in particular?
Flippo: Almost all of our staff will be dedicated to work this event either in patrol or on the race route. There are 27 officers from Santa Cruz dedicated to the race route and festival area alone.
SS: You're no doubt the lead agency among the many law enforcement personnel who will be in town from around the county. How many officers from those other agencies will be joining yours?
Flippo: The CHP will actually be leading the race into the city. We are responsible for the road closures and traffic control along the race route. We are also staffing a large festival area at the finish line of this race stage. There are about 15 other motorcycle officers from around the county who also will be working the race route. This includes Scotts Valley, Capitola, UCSC and Watsonville. We are also coordinating about 450 volunteers who will be along the race route.
SS: Where are you having the other agencies focus their efforts?
Flippo: Traffic control and traffic congestion related problems.
SS: How do you train for something like this?
Flippo: We are able to train for this by working other smaller events and larger events such as Beach fest and Triathlon races.
SS: Is this the biggest special event your department has had to work?
SS: What is your greatest concern about the event?
Flippo: There are two primary concerns. One is to minimize the traffic congestion and impact on traffic and community as much as possible. The second concern is to secure the race route so there are no safety risks to the racers, their staff, and the public.
SS: What do you hope to gain or learn from it?
Flippo: We will always learn from events like this on how to safely conduct large scale road closures and how to safely manage large crowds.
SS: Any other thoughts about the event or this holiday weekend as a whole?
Flippo: Our plans will not change, rain or shine. We request that the public remain supportive and patient during this event. This race is unlike any other large scale event that has come to the city and provides an opportunity for the community to benefit from and enjoy an international event of great magnitude.