‘We’re ramping up’: Law enforcement officers out in full force for Hoopfest weekend

Washington State Patrol

SPOKANE, Wash. — Thousands are expected to travel into Spokane for Hoopfest this weekend. Law enforcement officers say they are prepared for the large crowd.

“We’re ramping up, and we’re getting the word out that we’re out here and we’re ready. If we have to make arrests we’re going to do it. If we have to write speed tickets we’re going to be out there,” Sergeant Greg Riddell said.

Washington State Patrol troopers from around the state will be in Spokane on Friday to make sure people stay safe on the roads. Troopers will be working overtime, an additional 25 shifts throughout the weekend. They’ll be focusing on impaired drivers, distracted drivers, and those who are speeding.

“Our hope is that I have 25 shifts of 25 different troopers that are bored because everyone is obeying the law. No one is speeding. We don’t have any distracted driving. Everybody has their seatbelt on and we have no impaired drivers,” Riddell said.

WSP will have an impaired driving unit set up at the Spokane Arena to bring impaired drivers to process and book.

To ensure troopers have even more eyes on drivers there will be a traffic enforcement plane too.

“We want to make Hoopfest a safe weekend where everybody can go down, and enjoy it to play the best 3-on-3 competition ever, and make Spokane the Lilac City that people remember to come and visit,” Riddell said.

Spokane Police officers will also be out in full force over the weekend. Officers will be on bikes, walking around, and patrolling downtown to keep people safe.

“Hoopfest is one of the best events that Spokane has and it’s great for our community. It’s great for our economy. We want to make sure it’s fun and safe for everybody. So our law enforcement response is multifaceted,” Corporal Nick Briggs said.

Briggs says with an event that draws up to a quarter of a million people, there’s the potential things could go wrong. However, he says it’s historically been a safe event.

“We know our downtown, and we know this event so we’ve really been able to fine tune our response to the event and make sure we’re appropriately prepared,” he said.

Briggs says there have been a couple of fights at the event in previous years.

“Keep a calm head and keep things in perspective this is Hoopfest it’s supposed to be fun. I’ve played in it before. I’m competitive and I want to win. It’s nothing worth fighting over,” he said.

SPD also wants to remind people that the “no parking tow away zone” placards that are currently on meters are being enforced.

READ: Downtown streets to close on Friday for Hoopfest weekend