TPD, first responders review emergency protocols ahead of Gasparilla festivities

As Tampa prepares for the Children's Gasparilla Parade this weekend, and the Gasparilla Pirate Invasion later in January, Bay Area law enforcement revisited the horror and tragedy of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Interim Tampa Police Chief Ruben Delgado said studying tragedies of the past help prevent them in the future.

"We went through an extensive tabletop exercise as how we would respond to that as a city," said Delgado. "When the bombing happened at the Boston Marathon, we went and studied that up there and there’s some takeaways from there."

Takeaways like bag policies, the free-flow of pedestrian traffic around spectating areas, and the ability of an operations center to notify spectators in real-time.

"You learn from each and every event," Delgado said. "Anything that’s going on, currently in the climate of the world, we take into account here as well, and throw some scenarios. The key is, the people who sit in these chairs don’t know what the scenarios are."

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Tuesday, the Tampa Police Department hosted dozens of law enforcement officers, first responders, and hospital officials to run through a variety of emergencies, should anything arise during the parades. 

"Any public safety component that’s involved in this, we want to make sure we bring them in, so everybody is on the same [playing] field," Delgado said.

With Gasparilla returning after the pandemic’s cancellation in 2021, organizers expect more than 300,000 to attend the events. Delgado wants to remind the public of the message they repeat before any event.

"If you see something, say something," he said. "That’s what we’re in the room doing. So if something comes to our attention, we know how to react and who is going to take responsibility for certain things, how the communication levels are going to work."