CPD To Magnify Presence in Nightlife Districts this Weekend

10:27 PM, Oct 2, 2012   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- As Carolina welcomes the Georgia Bulldogs into town this weekend, you can expect a sold out stadium and large crowds in downtown's Five Points and Vista. It goes without saying, security will be a priority.

The Columbia Police Department has a ramped up security plan in both the Vista and Five points that will cost the city some 14 thousand dollars.

"We recognize that when something happens in Five Points it is not simply confined to Five Points but neighboring communities can feel the impact as well," said Assistant Chief of Police Leslie Wiser.

When the scoreboard marks the end of the fourth quarter in Saturday's Carolina game against Georgia, thousands will flock to Columbia's Five Points and Vista's nightlife spots.

But foot traffic alone isn't what the Columbia Police Department will be targeting, instead, a number of criminal activities. Violent crime being first.

"We will have a significant presence at the game itself. We will have people rotate off of that and come down to Five Points," said Wiser.

The City heard from Assistant Chief of Police Leslie Wiser Tuesday as they unveiled an operational security plan to protect citizens in the two nightlife areas.

The plan calls for more than 50 overtime CPD officers, DUI checkpoints, observation towers, assigning specific officers to each block in five points, while using a dedicated dispatcher just for 911 calls from five points. The city is also putting in place a group of officers called, a quick reaction team, just to respond to fights.

"What in the past has happened is that everybody has gone to help, leaving posts uncovered. We are going to try to maintain a discipline to stay on their blocks and have these mobile units to come in and provide the help," said Wiser.

Columbia Police says they'll use a mobile command trailer to coordinate police operations, along with a mobile booking station, while increasing patrols in surrounding Five Points neighborhoods.

"We are going to have our gang unit out, because they know who the gangbangers are. We are going to have our narcotics unit out, they know who these bad guys are. Our drug suppression team will be there they are very effective."

A safety plan Columbia Police hope will help to keep people safe as they head out to celebrate Saturday night after the game.

The City of Columbia will spend twelve thousand dollars adding security in Five Points and almost two thousand dollars for added security for the Vista this weekend. The majority of the extra costs will go towards paying overtime salary to officers. Neither of the estimated costs include fuel for transporting arrests and police cars.

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