The Biloxi and Gulfport police chiefs, as well as Harrison County Sheriff George Payne say they are all pleased with the way things went and they are especially glad they didn't have to "vent" traffic from Highway 90 to the interstate. Now they say it's time to look back and review the plan and look ahead to next year.
"The plan's there. We're going to critique that this week, the three agencies will sit down and look at everything on it and see what we have to do for next year. Again, from our perspective we have to look at it, next year spring break will be back so we'll tweak the plan and go from there and see what happens," Biloxi Police Chief Bruce Dunagan said.
Police say they're not sure why the huge crowds from last year stayed away, but the sheriff speculates it could be because the kids were confused over where to go, Biloxi or New Orleans.
"Whoever was supposedly promoting it, whoever was telling the kids where to go, evidently they failed. But you know what, our infrastructure's not big enough for it anyway, so we still had more than we can handle, but everything went well as far as I'm concerned," Sheriff Payne said.
Reverend Larry Holmes, a God Squad member, agrees, saying the kids and the police were much better behaved than last year. But Holmes says ticketing drivers and towing cars is unnecessary.
"The crowds were not as large, and it appeared to me, and it's just my opinion that it was not necessary closing down the lanes because traffic was moving freely at the time that they instituted it, and that's what caused the traffic jam," Holmes said.
Despite the criticism, Sheriff Payne says he won't budge from the plan that keeps one eastbound and one westbound lane of Highway 90 free of traffic.
"It worked last year, it worked this year. It's part of our operational plan, and I have no intention as far as the sheriff of eliminating that as far as our overall plan. Keeping those lanes open is our top priority, so if someone has a heart attack, an ambulance can get to them. Somebody's house catches on fire a fire truck can get to them. If we have to respond to a problem we can respond," Sheriff Payne said.
By Marcia Hill
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