West Allis Mayor: Christmas parade will go on as planned
WEST ALLIS, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Mayor of West Allis says their annual Christmas parade will go on as scheduled.
West Allis Mayor Dan Devine says this wasn't an easy decision to make after the deadly incident at the Waukesha holiday parade.
Six people were killed and more than 60 others injured in downtown Waukesha after 39-year-old Darrell Brooks of Milwaukee, sped through the holiday parade in his SUV, striking victims.
Devine says the moment he learned about the Waukesha holiday parade tragedy, he simply didn't understand how someone could do this.
"People I know and worked with had to go through this. I was numb I had trouble processing it," explained Devine.
Devine immediately gathered his team to reevaluate the safety of their own Christmas parade.
"We set up a meeting on Monday with everyone we could that evening to address our parade and decide if we were going to go forward or cancel," said Devine.
After consulting with the West Allis Police Department, the West Allis Fire Department, the West Allis-West Milwaukee Recreation and Community Services Department, and City support staff Devine says they decided to proceed with their holiday parade.
"We felt along this route we were able to secure it enough with additional police presence and limited access," said Devine.
Devine says they will have 60 concrete barriers and Public Works trucks to block off all parade route side streets and access points.
This includes placing police squads throughout the parade route as well.
There will also be police vehicles to secure the front-end and back-end of the parade route.
Officers will also be placed throughout the route of the parade in addition to these measures.
He hopes with heightened security the community will feel safe and united.
"So many parades were canceled last year and so many people are excited to get back to these things. I think as much as it will be celebratory I think it will be a healing moment for some people. I've been saying West Allis we stand with Waukesha. Our thoughts are with them. If they believe in prayer… pray for Waukesha. A lot of people are going to have a rough holiday season," Devine said.
The West Allis Youth Commission is going to be collecting funds at the beginning of the route for the Waukesha Fund.
The parade is scheduled for December 4th at 4:45 p.m. The Franklin parade is also scheduled for December 4th and begins at 4:15 p.m.
The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies are set to walk in the parade to honor three of their own members and one of their husbands who were all killed at the Waukesha Christmas parade.
The members who were killed are 79-year-old Virginia Sorenson, 71-year-old LeAnna Owen, 52-year-old Tamara Durand, and 81-year old Wilhelm Hospel.
Whitefish Bay and Menomonee Falls have also canceled their celebrations.
Katie Crommer with the Whitefish Bay Business Improvement District (BID) released the following statement to CBS 58: "The BID made a decision to just share the press release and not talk to anyone. The situation was so sad and out of respect to those who died, still in the hospital and those injured we felt it was most respectful not to proceed with the parade this year."
Menomonee Falls made the announcement on their Facebook page with the following statement: "The Menomonee Falls Christmas Parade has been CANCELED for Sunday, November 28th in light of the recent events in the City of Waukesha."