Wet N’ Wild Independence Day Parade is back with amped up security

Posted at 6:54 PM, Jun 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-13 20:54:51-04

The "Wet n’ Wild" 4th of July parade in Pueblo West is showing no signs of slowing down, but it will have a much different security aspect this year.

It’s known as the largest wet parade west of the Mississippi and still growing. 

But following feedback from spectators, the Pueblo-West Metro District is amping up security officers and law enforcement presence to steer everyone at the parade clear of troubled waters.

Unfortunately, the rowdy crowds led some to stray away from innocent water fights.

"Our office received a lot of complaints from people who had floats in the parade and spectators saying that they had safety concerns," said Jay-Michael Baker, Communications and Engagement Manager with Pueblo West Metropolitan District.

"I mean, there was discussion last year about doing away with the event."

Threats of frozen water balloons and high-pressure hoses aimed at bystanders is scaring residents like Tony Ruiz away.

"The last few years I haven’t come because of the problems that we’ve been facing with people causing just damage with ice balloons and the threat of people getting hurt," he said.

But just as the parade continues to evolve, so has Pueblo West Metro District’s safety response.

"Safety for those along the parade route, you know, and just the scope and size of it, being able to adequately provide law enforcement," added Baker.

Community organizations are banding together, the Pueblo West Rotary Club are providing two dozen security officers.
The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office is adding more deputies.
The DA’s Office setting up "booking tents" with district attorneys on scene.

It all comes down to having more feet on the ground and in the puddles.

 "Our goal is to make this a family event," Baker said. 
"Is it too big? Not necessarily, I think that’s where it takes that community coming together to find solutions and I think that’s what we’re doing."

But residents like Ruiz, not ready to test the waters just yet.
Although, he’s optimistic.

"If this added security helps, then and it causes the amount of complaints and injuries to decrease, I’m all for it," Ruiz said.
"Yeah I’ll definitely go."

Officers will be keeping an eye out for prohibited items like frozen water balloons high-pressure hoses and water that’s been mixed with chemicals or agents.