What you need to know about the Rose Bowl and Rose Parade security

Dec 30, 2016

127th Tournament Of Roses Parade Presented By Honda

In this handout image provided by Disneyland, The Disneyland Resort entry in the 2016 Rose Parade brings to life the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration at the 127th Tournament of Roses Parade.; Credit: Handout/Getty Images


If you’re headed to the Rose Parade or the Rose Bowl game on Monday, be prepared to face heightened security. Pasadena police and other law enforcement agencies will be taking numerous measures to prevent terrorist attacks like those seen in European cities this past year.

Sturdier barricades and more checkpoints will be set up to control cars coming to the 128th annual parade. More than 1,000 police officers, including many in plainclothes, and dozens of bomb-sniffing dogs will work the 5 ½-mile parade route, said Pasadena police Chief Phillip Sanchez.

“There are no known security threats to the city of Pasadena, to the parade or to the football game,” he said. “Nevertheless, we will ensure that aggressive measures are in place to do the best we can to mitigate concerns.”

Key measures will be the placement of water-filled barricades that Sanchez said are designed to stop terrorists from racing vehicles onto the parade route, where hundreds of thousands of people will stand shoulder-to-shoulder Monday to watch a steady stream of marching bands, equestrian units and flower-covered floats.

The route runs through the popular Old Pasadena shopping district, past a community college and under a busy freeway.

Terrorists driving trucks into crowds killed dozens of people  during a Bastille Day celebration in  Nice, France, in July, and at a Berlin Christmas street market on Dec. 19.

Parade and game goers can also subscribe to text messages from Pasadena police for updates on traffic and safety issues:

Security will be just as tight at the 103rd annual Rose Bowl football game following the parade.

“Vehicles that will be entering the Rose Bowl area will all be scanned,” Sanchez said. “Bomb dogs will roam across those vehicles as well.”

Officers have been trained to spot suspicious packages in cars, he said, and for weeks police have been working with federal authorities to compile lists of suspicious license plates and vehicles.

People going to the game must pass through metal detectors and can expect delays. Anyone who shows up 10 minutes before it is set to start likely won’t see the opening kickoff.

“Arrive early, bring a lot of patience,” Sanchez said.

In planning the parade, Pasadena police officials have been working with the FBI, TSA, Secret Service, Homeland Security, ICE and other agencies.

Sanchez said they have studied the deadly terror attack on Brussels in March in which three suicide bombers killed 32 people and injured more than 300 at an airport and train station. Two suicide bombers carried explosives into the airport in large suitcases and detonated them while another suicide bomber planted explosives on a train.

Authorities said it could take more than just preparation to ensure safety at the Rose Parade and game. Sanchez and others are repeating the security mantra: If you see something suspicious, say something to police.

“It will be quite evident to you that there is extra uniformed security there,” he said. “And you can just assume that if you see uniformed security there is likely either plainclothes security or cameras or some other technology that we will be utilizing to monitor and to ensure concentric circles of security for our parade-goers.”

For a full list of safety guidelines, visit

On AirTalk, Patt Morrison spoke with Lt. Vasken Gourdikian of the Pasadena Police Department to get an inside perspective of what to expect at the events:

Here’s what you need to know:

Pack light, but don’t forget your patience

Gourdikian: We do have extra security measures for grandstand personnel, even parade watchers along the entire route, and for the Bowl game.

Plan early, come ahead of schedule. Pack light as well. We don’t anticipate it to be a very cold New Year’s morning, so the less bulky items you bring, the easier it will be for you to traverse through the security measures. There are also prohibited items such as ladders and umbrellas and selfie sticks, etc. 

The events will be a no dog zone

Gourdikian: Dogs are prohibited in the Rose Bowl venue at the game and dogs can be problematic along the parade route as well. 

. . .And a no drone zone

Gourdikian: Due to Federal Aviation Administration regulations, drones are prohibited in crowded and public areas. Drones at the events will be confiscated and owners may be cited. 

To get constant updates, use Nixle, a public safety app

Gourdikian: I will be sending out frequent messages regarding parade information and updates on the Bowl game, etc. We encourage the community to sign in or log on to Nixle. If they type in Rose Parade, it should pop up and they can get information that way as well. At, there are all the basic do’s and don’t’s so they can get updates that way. It will also help you navigate the terrain that day and get in and out more efficiently.

*Note: This interview was edited for clarity. Associated Press contributed to this report.


Brian Michael Jenkins, Senior Advisor to the President of the Rand Corporation and one of the nation’s leading experts on terrorism and homeland security; he tweets @BrianMJenkins

Lt. Vasken Gourdikian, Lieutenant with Pasadena Police Department; he tweets @PPDVGourdikian

This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at

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