Chief hopes new plan will reduce problems on the Plaza - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Chief hopes new plan will reduce problems on the Plaza


The Country Club Plaza is almost always a busy place, especially Friday nights.

A week after a large group of teens got into fights and some were arrested, police are hoping the entertainment district will be busy, but peaceful, as Police Chief Darryl Forte rolled out a new plan to keep a lid on things there.

Police are adding officers, many of them undercover, blending in amidst the horse-drawn carriages. There are also portable cameras mounted in the area for live surveillance at dispatch and on department phones.

"We can pan, tilt, rotate them in any direction, zoom in and get detailed description of parties, look at certain things we want to," said Sgt. Greg Williams.

Police use the same cameras for large-crowd events like the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Now they're being used on the Plaza where, last weekend, police say a group of some 150 kids crowded the street by the theater, getting into fights with each other.

Police say they're cracking down, not just on jaywalking, but on disorderly behavior.

"Things like when you're walking down the middle of the street, causing a nuisance, screaming and yelling at cars. There won't be any warning given. We will make an arrest and give a citation," Williams said.

Authorities are also providing an alternative. There's a Metro Bus parked by the movie theater, ready to offer a free ride to the nearest community center for organized activities.

"We want everyone to come down and enjoy themselves. This is a wonderful crown jewel of Kansas City and we just want everyone to have a good time and be safe," Williams said.

A KCTV5 crew on the Plaza Friday night covering the heavier security said they didn't spot any signs of trouble, but pointed out that police say trouble comes haphazardly, at different times, and not every weekend.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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