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Bakersfield Police looking to increase public safety at events with vehicle barriers

Posted at 7:00 PM, May 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 14:30:58-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Nearly five months after the Bakersfield Christmas Parade crash, the Bakersfield Police Department is taking a serious look at safety procedures for large events moving forward. Part of that includes the purchasing new barriers to better protect the community.

  • Video shows demonstrations of the Meridian Archer 1200 Barriers that have now been purchased by the City for the police department.
  • The Bakersfield Christmas Parade crash showcasing to the police department a need for more protection, leading to their request for the purchase of Meridian Archer 1200 Barriers. City council approving the purchase of these barriers for $395,000.

Nearly five months after the Bakersfield Christmas Parade crash, the Bakersfield Police Department is taking a serious look at safety procedures for large events moving forward. Part of that includes the purchasing new barriers to better protect the community.

“Had these been in a position where a vehicle would have come into encounter them it absolutely would’ve stopped the vehicle from entering the area where bystanders were," said Sgt. Eric Celedon of BPD.

Bakersfield Neighborhood News Reporter Veronica Morley interviewing Sgt. Eric Celedon of BPD about the protective barriers they plan to use at big city events.
Bakersfield Neighborhood News Reporter Veronica Morley interviewing Sgt. Eric Celedon of BPD about the protective barriers they plan to use at big city events.

That night of joy and community in Bakersfield was changed forever last December, when the parade was marred by the actions of an alleged drunk driver.

"Several people I've spoken to since said they probably won't go to the parade again," said Misty Cole of Poppi’s Pastrami, who had her truck struck that night leaving her with around $40,000 in damages.

Cole said she got off easy though compared to the families who’s loved once suffered life-long injuries.

Three people were injured that night — a 42-year-old and 21-year-old father and son and a 77-year-old Vietnam veteran. According to their families, their injuries were critical.

“Now would these barriers have prevented what happened at the last Christmas Parade? I don’t have that information," Celedon said. "What I can tell you is the last Christmas Parade obviously and rightfully so highlighted the importance and the need to come up with new and innovated ways to keep the community safe.”

The events of that night showcasing to the police department a need for more protection, leading to their request for the purchase of Meridian Archer 1200 Barriers. City council approving the purchase of these barriers for $395,000.

Sgt. Celedon said these barriers will create a much stronger blockade at events as opposed to their typical use of vehicles or personnel.

“These things are engineered and created specifically for this. So the testing they provided us, the engineering is created specifically to stop a vehicle from entering that space," he said.

This first purchase by the City will include 24 barriers, but Celedon said they will work in contracting with the company to expand the number of barriers when needed. He also said they can also use the barriers to act as gateways to manage traffic flow during events or completely shut down roads when needed.

“So you think of like some of our largest thoroughfares, so Chester right. In order to block Chester, both nor and southbound lanes, would take about 6 of those to completely shut down a roadway like that," Celedon said.

Celedon suspects BPD should get the barriers and have them in place in the next 90 days.


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