Superior, Wis. – Keeping citizens safe is one of the police department’s biggest jobs. And senior police chief Nicholas Alexander said that particularly means events with large crowds, such as parades.
In the year Six people were killed and dozens injured when a vehicle plowed into a rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin in 2021.
According to Alexander, the rally created a serious threat to protect people from vehicles that want to harm drivers. That’s why his department is applying for a federal grant to buy portable, high-tech modular blocks.
The lowest-level system costs around $200,000, which is about the level you’d want to buy an advanced one.
The barriers come in trailers and can be connected to block up to eight lanes of traffic.
“At least it gives us the ability to block traffic on major arteries for events like the 4th of July parade. But over time, if you want to block it all with parking capacity, you have to invest more,” Alexander said.
Beyond the gathering, the barriers could be used to protect the places visited by high-profile politicians like the president.
Chief Alexander said the barriers could be used to protect sensitive infrastructure such as petroleum sites and the Port of Duluth-Superior.
“From time to time those sites can be targeted or at least threatened in a situation where this type of equipment can be used to secure our port, to protect key infrastructure, to provide a higher level of protection… a vehicle-based attack on one of those facilities,” Alexander explained.
If the department secures the Port Security Grant for Barriers, Alexander said he sees it as a resource that could be shared with other units, such as the Duluth Marathon, or other large-scale events where terrorism is a concern.
This new equipment will once again make the Superior Police Department a leader in new technology in the Northland. The department is the only agency in the Northland with a modern police design armored vehicle known as the BearCat. The department is the first in our area to have a virtual training simulator designed to help officers better de-escalate the most dangerous calls.