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Parade Watch volunteers help keep it orderly on New Year's Day

By Sandy Sand     Dec 30, 2009 in Lifestyle
Parade Watch, a security program instituted by Rose Parade officials after 9/11 was kicked off again in Pasadena, California yesterday.
Every year teams of volunteers and police monitor dozens of recreational vehicles that line the five-and-a-half mile Rose Parade route, check on the RV owners and encourage them to report anything suspicious to police.
It works much like a Neighborhood Watch program on wheels, Pasadena Police Department spokeswoman Janet Pope Givens said. With RVers keeping watch over each other, arrests have dropped significantly in recent years, she added.
Past New Year’s Eve revelers have caused police few problems because of Parade Watch, Givens said.
Before the program and the proliferation of cell phones, hundreds of arrests were not uncommon, Givens said.
Team members request campers to sign a waiver that acknowledges that police can search their RVs at any time, and they receive a commemorative decal for their windshields in return for their cooperation.
"Most people have been here before and they know the routine and look forward to getting the little sticker from us," said Randy Branson, 66, a Parade Watch volunteer for the last five years.
He added:
"It gives us the chance to serve the community and help out the Police Department. They say they really need us and couldn't do it without us."
Bob Beardsley and his wife Kerry of Ben Lomand, have been coming to Pasadena to view the parade from the top of their camper for 12 years. Both said they welcome the Parade Watch volunteers.
"It's great to check up and keep the riff-raff out of town," Beardsley said. "If you get up there you can see it coming. You really get a feel for it."
Another family, the Rick Millers from Redlands, also arrived on Monday to get a good viewing position along the parade route.
Miller said he likes the Parade Watch because once it starts, he knows he can officially park along the route. He related how securing an early spot usually nets him parking tickets.
With a kick-back attitude that reflects the mood of the season and party-like atmosphere of the New Year‘s Day celebration, Miller said:
"We end up paying a ticket a day for three days," Miller said. "But where can you camp for 30 bucks? That's how I look at it."
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