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New safety measures in place for Waukesha Memorial Day parade

Police: "This is the safest parade that Waukesha has ever had."
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Posted at 6:21 AM, May 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-30 19:16:18-04

WAUKESHA, Wis. — New enhanced security measures were in place at Waukesha's Memorial Day parade. Modular Vehicle Barricades (MVB's) were deployed for the first time in the city, designed to stop any vehicle from breaching the secure parade perimeter.

The new barricades helped to restore confidence in parade goers on Monday.

"Tragedy doesn't stop life," said Dave Tietjen, a Waukesha resident who said today's parade is both an opportunity to honor fallen members of our nation's military and a day to remember the lives lost at last year's Christmas Parade tragedy in Waukesha.

WATCH: Setting up new barriers for Waukesha Memorial Day parade

Setting up new barriers for Waukesha Memorial Day parade

The Memorial Day parade was the city's first parade since that tragic day when a driver blew through road blocks and hit and killed six people and injured more than 60 others.

"It's good to remember them, the people who lost their lives and their families - and the sorrow that they have felt," said Jennie Tietjen, Dave's wife.

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The barriers for the Waukesha parade.

"I'm glad that this parade wasn't canceled. I'm glad they didn't change that and threw extra safety measures in. I know they were expensive but I think it will give everyone a sense of safety and comfort here today, and that will be a good thing," said Dave.

The new MVB's were paid for by $800,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

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"The choice of not having a parade has never been on the table, so it was our responsibility to work together to figure out a way to make our community be able to come together and celebrate," said Joe Hoffman, Assistant Fire Chief of the Waukesha Fire Department.

The MVB's were not the only show of security at the event.

WATCH: Waukesha resident talks about Memorial Day parade, safety:

Waukesha resident talks about Memorial Day parade, safety

"As you go along the parade route you'll see our one-ton trucks, you'll see some of our plow trucks that are enhancing our intersections, we have squad cars that are enhancing the intersections," said Waukesha Police Captain Dan Baumann. "This is the safest parade that Waukesha has ever had."

A show of unity, resilience and security during a celebration of freedom.

WATCH: High schools march in Waukesha parade

High schools march in Waukesha parade

"While we don't forget what happened at Christmas time, we certainly can celebrate the peace and freedom of our community," said Dave Tietjen.

Waukesha has received about half of its order of MVB's. Police say the other half of the order should arrive in time for the Fourth of July parade.

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STORY BEHIND THE BARRIERS

The city obtained the barriers after the Waukesha City Council voted unanimously to pass the request to purchase $800,000 worth of vehicle barriers to use during outdoor city festivals and parades.

That decision in turn comes as plans for the Memorial Day parade are in the works in Waukesha and as the community continues to cope following the Christmas parade tragedy in November.

Six people were killed and dozens more were hurt when police say Darrell Brooks drove through the parade route.

The MVBs could be in place at the Memorial Day parade, which will be the first major parade held since that tragic night.

For example, Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly previously said concrete barriers offer protection but are difficult to move. Public Works trucks, like plows, can also offer protection, but staffing each truck with a driver who has a commercial drivers licenses (CDL) is expensive.

Mayor Reilly said the MVBs offer flexibility and can be purchased using some of the $10 million in ARPA funds the City of Waukesha is set to receive over the next couple of years.

The barriers are a preventative tool that offer safety and peace of mind.

"It does help Waukesha heal. It's part of the puzzle," said Mayor Reilly.

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