Law enforcement preparing for downtown crowds during F1


by JESSICA HOLLOWAY / KVUE News and photojournalist DEREK RASOR

Posted on November 15, 2012 at 7:23 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 15 at 7:40 PM

AUSTIN -- Austin police, Travis County Sheriff's deputies, constables, Austin Independent School District police and other law enforcement agencies are teaming up to help with downtown crowds during Formula 1 weekend. 

"We have two command centers. One is inside Austin Police Headquarters," said Austin Police Department Sgt. Jeff Crawford.

Austin police will be on the street controlling traffic, crowds and crime.

"It's not quite as quick as a car, but it's got some get-up-and-go to it," Crawford said.

The city is expecting large crowds and heavy traffic. Sixth Street bars and clubs are going to be fully staffed as they are hoping for a large customer base.

The owner of a new Russian restaurant on 5th Street and Trinity is also expecting large crowds.

"For a couple of days it's been so quiet, like before the storm it gets quiet. We're excited, we don't know what's going to happen," said Varta Salkey, the owner of Russian House.

There was a flurry of activity on 6th Street Thursday with people, cars and beverage trucks arriving en masse, along with race fans from all over the world.

Officers will use a new style of policing. APD is encouraging officers to get out of their cars and interact with visitors. It's called tourism policing.

APD's command center will operate 24/7 until Sunday. Austin police will have regular patrol throughout the rest of the city.

Other changes coming to downtown include road closures and enhanced parking enforcement.

Click here for more information on downtown Austin road closures during Formula 1 weekend.

Click here for travel tips for Formula 1 attendees.