With the many thousands expected for Friday’s aerial fireworks show at Ala Moana Beach Park, Honolulu first responders were everywhere in the area, and their massive presence did not escape the notice of campers who showed up for the fireworks spectacle.
As if in the holiday mood, police did not come down too hard on most people. In one case, a family came close to having their car towed but at the last minute, there came reprieve.
“My sister’s car were about to be towed but luckily the cops were nice and let us pass, said Anders Moerch. But when asked if the police still broke out their citation book, Moerch said “Yeah, we got a ticket, though, hah!”
Police say while they also saw tents in the park, they preferred to issue citations. Only those shelters without sides such as canopies were allowed in the park.
Police largely focused on illegal parking. People had to scramble for whatever spot they could find after the gates reopened to allow motorists into the park at 4 a.m. Friday, and they quickly filled all the available stalls.
Officers also made time to be good samaritans. More than once, they had to reunite children who could not find their parents in the crowded mix of camp sites. First responders were everywhere including fire engines, ambulance units, and even the National Guard, who apparently were called in to augment security.
“I feel pretty safe today, because I see the cops coming around every five to ten minutes patrolling the area,” said Michael Santos. “I feel pretty safe, nothing too crazy is happening.”
“I feel really safe. There have been plenty of cops that have been here coming around,” said Kaety Enos. “I think every five minutes at one point.”
“We have a lot of police patrolling and all. They have police walking around, even the cars,” said Cheryl Bonds.
The massive police presence after the end of the show was to ensure that people leaving the park knew of the change in the traffic flow. One plan called for all lanes on Piikoi Street to go mauka after 8 p.m. Friday, while another plan called police to block all vehicle traffic going in both directions on Ala Moana Boulevard from entering bridge at the Diamond Head end of the Park. The plans were to ensure that everyone will leave the show in a safe and orderly manner.