OS police chief says call to cancel night parade was 'miscommunication'

OS police chief says call to cancel night parade was 'miscommunication'

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Since Tuesday, the talk of the town in Ocean Springs has been a call from the police department to cancel the city's Mardi Gras night parade. Police Chief Mark Dunston made it clear Thursday morning the message his deputy chief delivered to the board of aldermen was a miscommunication.

Deputy Chief Derek Hoppner handed a letter to the board Tuesday asking them to cancel the city's popular night parade. The letter cited fights and safety concerns for officers as the reason for the request.

Dunston says the wording of that message came off the wrong way and was "blown out of proportion."

"There was some miscommunication, and we just have to do a better job of it. That's all. It happens," said Dunston.

Dunston did say his department is exploring ways to make the parade safer and cut down on rowdy behavior. He said adding barricades and eliminating trouble areas will do just that.

"For example, in front of the Swingster building that used to be there, now it's just a big parking lot. That is not going to be an accessible area for people to sit on the back of pickup trucks and drink and jump up and down," said Dunston.

Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran says the entertainment district ordinance that recently passed in the city will help cut down on overcrowding issues downtown. The ordinance allows patrons to leave a restaurant or bar with an alcoholic beverage in a clear plastic cup.

"We very much value our parade and events, our festivals. That's what makes Ocean Springs what it is," said Moran. "But of course, public safety and safety of our law enforcement officers is very very important as well."

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