As in years past, “the Pasadena Police Department is well prepared for the 2017 Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game,” said Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez.
“We are working with local, state and federal law enforcement officials to ensure the events are as safe as possible,” said Sanchez said.
As of the last week of December, there were no known threats to the game or the parade, the chief said.
Besides the regular police presence, much like last year there will be a dozen so-called rapid response teams, ground-level and air surveillance that can monitor the entire parade route, and officers using license plate scanners.
Other agencies taking part in the policing the event include the California Highway Patrol, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the US Secret Service.
Also like last year, no-fly zones over the parade and the Rose Bowl have been imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Drones are also prohibited at the parade and the game.
Along the parade route, tents, sofas and boxes of any type that can be used as stools or seats are prohibited. Unoccupied chairs are not allowed and will be removed.
Open containers of alcohol are illegal on public streets, sidewalks and all other public areas, and violators may be cited or arrested. Police will also crack down on use of silly string, as well as marshmallow and tortilla throwing along the route. Umbrellas are also banned. Spectators are encouraged to wear ponchos due to the cold weather. According to extended weather forecasts, it should be cloudy and in the upper 50s on Jan. 2, the day of the game and parade.
Over the past several years, activists and social groups have attempted to disrupt the Rose Parade to make statements on issues ranging from marriage equality and human rights abuses in China to the treatment of African Americans at the hands of the police.
In 2001, security was ramped up after the attacks on New York and Washington, DC, but it increased even more last year following the Dec. 2, 2015 terrorist attack in which 28-year-old Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik, 29, killed 14 people and wounded 22 others attending a San Bernardino County Department of Public Health holiday party. At the time, federal authorities ranked the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Football Game a “Level 1” Special Event Assessment Rating (SEAR), giving city officials full access to support from the federal government.
Starting with the 1992 Tournament of Roses, the event became a political stage of sorts. That year’s theme was “Voyages of Discovery,” in honor of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus landing in the New World. A descendant of Columbus, Cristobol Colon, was chosen as grand marshal. However, the selection was immediately criticized by Native Americans and minority groups, who claimed Columbus brought nothing but ruin, and the Tournament, then dominated by white men, was a racist organization.
Over the past decade, the parade route has been used to promote a number of causes. Last year, a skywriter wrote “America is Great, Trump is Disgusting” in the brilliant blue sky over the parade route. The man did not break the law because the ban on airspace only extends a quarter mile above the route.
In 2015, seven members of the group Black Lives Matters (BLM) were detained for allegedly trying to disrupt the parade. BLM members waved signs decrying recent shooting deaths of black men by police. Members of the group attempted to enter the parade route with a large banner that read, “This is our year. This is not a moment. This is a movement.”
After being cited and released, members of the same group announced a meeting via Facebook and Twitter at Pasadena’s Brenner Park on Mountain Street and discussed marching on the Rose Bowl Game between Florida State and the University of Oregon before opting to protest in Los Angeles instead.
In 2014, 19 members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) were arrested for attempting to block the progress of SeaWorld’s float due to alleged mistreatment of orcas at the park. Also that year, there was an additional protest in opposition to a pro-gay marriage float. No arrests were made regarding the marriage equality protest.
In 2008, former actor Andrew Koenig was arrested after he attempted to block a float promoting that year’s Summer Olympics in Beijing. Human rights groups and victims of Chinese government oppression expressed opposition to the float shortly after it was announced in 2007.
“The public also plays a role in safeguarding the parade and bowl game,” Sanchez said. “People visiting the venues this year are reminded that if they see something, say something. In other words, members of the public should alert the Pasadena Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies (working both venues) about suspicious activities.”