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Law enforcement aims for Azalea Festival safety


WILMINGTON -- With all of the people taking part in the festival, law enforcement will be making its presence known. We can expect to see law enforcement officers on everything from boats to Segways to their own two feet -- whatever it takes to keep their eye on the crowds. Wilmington Police Cpt. Marshall Williamson is the event commander for the festival. In his 25 years there he says there have been no major security incidents. He reminds you to be patient as you deal with traffic and crowds. Wilmington police will be upping patrol and getting help from other agencies including local sheriff's offices, police departments and Highway Patrol. Cpt. Williamson said, "About all 263 officers will have some part in the Azalea Festival this weekend so the Wilmington Police Department, along with our partners and regional partners, expend a lot of time, energy and resources to this event." If you plan to drive to the parade on Saturday, Marshall recommends getting there early because streets will close at 6:45 in the morning. Also, there are no pets, alcohol or concealed weapons -- even if you have a permit -- allowed at any of the events.

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Do the officers riding the Segways get paid extra?

I know that most departments pay flight pay to pilots, dive pay to divers, and a few even pay a bonus to motorcycle officers because of the increased road risk. Officers forced to ride Segways should receive a $200-a-month "Embarrassment from having to look like a dork" bonus.