F1 Weekend

Police prep for huge F1 crowds by tripling downtown staff

Police prep for huge F1 crowds by tripling downtown staff

KVUE — Austin Police will triple the number of officers downtown this weekend. They are preparing for huge crowds for Halloween and F1 Fan Fest celebrations.

Police expect around 80,000 F1 fans to pack downtown streets all weekend long — add that to the thousands of people who are planning to celebrate Halloween. Police are doing their best to stay ahead of the crowd with a message for everyone, including underage drinkers.

"At the end of the day if you're irresponsible the boogie man with the badge will take you to jail," Commander Troy Officer said.

It is a "No Refusal" weekend from 9 pm Friday through 5 am Sunday. Any suspected drunk driver who refuses a breathalyzer will be forced to give a blood sample.

Police are also reminding those in costumes that no weapons will be allowed; props like swords and axes need to stay at home.

"I feel we have enough officers to handle any type of incidents we might have but at the end of the day it comes down to personal responsibility. We can't prevent everything; a lot of times we come in after the fact. That's why we really try to encourage people to come downtown and exhibit some self control," Commander Officer said.

Police said just like prom, New Year's Eve and spring break, this holiday is high risk for underage drinking. "If you are under 21 and choose to add alcohol to your Halloween festivities you are breaking the law. If you are an adult who is providing alcohol to a minor on Halloween night you are also breaking the law," Gloria Souhami, director for the county attorney's underage drinking program said.

In 2013 officers wrote nearly 1400 tickets related to underage drinking and arrested 236 minors for DWI. The fine for providing alcohol to a minor is upwards of $4,000.

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APD is tripling downtown staff for F1/Halloween weekend. Photo by Kevin McCauley