PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - Officials in Pass Christian are already making plans for tighter security at this year's annual Mardi Gras parade.
Part of that decision comes just two years after a fatal shooting at the parade claimed the lives of two men, leaving multiple others injured.
With all four defendants in that shooting pleading guilty, Police Chief Tim Hendricks is praising everyone who worked on the investigation, including multiple officers in his own department.
He said the work of his officers has brought him great pride.
"Six defendants all have at least entered a plea of guilty and a judge has accepted that and given a sentence on that. So we're very pleased with that. I don't think that anybody pled to their full charges or sentencing, but it's the least I think we could accept with getting back to to the victims and everyone involved. Finding some type of closure in that," said Chief Hendricks.
When the St. Paul Carnival Association parade rolls around on Feb. 11, Pass Christian Police plan on going above and beyond to make sure revelers feel safe.
"We do take extras steps to put more barricades up," said the police chief. "We're trying to get additional officers to help us out. We've eliminated some of the parking. So anything we see from the previous year we try our best to do it better the next year."
After the final defendant in the Pass parade shooting from 2016 entered a plea with a judge on Friday, Chief Hendricks said it shows the public his officers are committed to seeking justice for the victims.
This year, he'll have close to 100 officers working the parade.
"We have a zero tolerance policy for fighting, drugs, public nudity at the parades," Chief Hendricks noted. "We're going to crack down on that severely. But then again on the other hand like I said we want people to enjoy themselves within reason."
During the 2016 shooting, there were close to 1,500 people nearby. Chief Hendricks urges folks to always pay attention to their surroundings during a big event, especially at a parade.
The police chief also thanks additional agencies that helped with the investigation, as well as the district attorney's office for preparing cases against the suspects.