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POLICE PROMISE HEAVY SECURITY FOR CARNIVAL

April 14, 2003 – Police officials announced plans on Wednesday for increased security and emergency services during the V.I. Carnival finale week beginning April 23. "We are not going to tolerate any disorder," Police Commissioner Elton Lewis said. "We are going to enforce every rule and procedure."
Lewis said officers from St. Croix will be deployed to carnival sites and federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Coast Guard units will provide air surveillance.
Also, he said, surveillance cameras will be mounted in strategic areas of carnival events to aid police in gathering intelligence and evidence in the case of incidents.
Lewis declined to comment on how many St. Croix officers would be sent to St. Thomas, the type of aircraft that will be available to assist police efforts in keeping order and the frequency of such flights.
V.I. Carnival draws thousands of people into downtown Charlotte Amalie and to Lionel Roberts Stadium for both daytime and night-time events. Government officials have said they are expecting 10,000 off-islands visitors for this year's finale festivities.
Police were unable to provide figures on the number of crimes committed during carnival season compared to the rest of the year. Alexander Williams, the Emergency Medical Services director, said the most frequent injuries during carnival are gunshot wounds, stabbings and beatings.
A case in point: In the early hours of April 4, three men and a woman were shot at a carnival warm-up band competition in a ballroom packed with more than 2,000 persons at Palms Court Harbourview Hotel. (See "Four shot during Clash of the Bands event".)
Williams noted that crowds and backed-up traffic can hinder emergency response times. "There must be crowd control in the specific event areas for ambulances," he said, and motorists need to pull over when signaled by ambulances or other emergency vehicles. Sometimes, he said, "you have 10 minutes from the time of receiving the call to the O.R..[the hospital operating room] to save a life."
Police officials said they know who the troublemakers in the community are and will be "shaking down" suspicious individuals. Guns, knives, large sticks, smoke bombs and weapons of any other sort are banned from carnival areas, they said.
They also vowed to stop people who are wearing suspicious clothing in which they might be concealing weapons. "Don't come with a trench coat on, 'cause it ain't snowing," Carnival Committee chair Kenneth Blake said.

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