Beverly Hills will shut down its famed Rodeo Drive on Election Day in anticipation of potential looting and vandalism of the pricey shopping area if results anger individuals.
The move was announced Thursday at the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce meeting.
Terming the move a “hard closure,” Beverly Hills Assistant Chief of Police Marc Coopwood said the plan is to close Rodeo Drive to drivers and pedestrians between Santa Monica and Wilshire Boulevards Nov. 3-4.
“So we are going to have the K-rail cement-type barricades, where it’s not going to allow any vehicle or traffic into the Rodeo Drive area,” Coopwood said.
Retail stores in the area will not be required to close, but are being asked to voluntarily comply. Coopwood said the BHPD is still working on how to accommodate medical offices who may have patients with appointments.
Beverly Hills has been the seen of numerous pro-Donald Trump rallies over the past few weeks. The shopping district was hit hard in late May and early June during the George Floyd protests. Beverly Hills was under a curfew for a few days.
“Everything that I say is subject to change, because a lot of what we’re doing with our deployments are intelligence-driven,” Coopwood said. “We are planning for the worst, and we can de-escalate from there.”
As of Halloween, the 135 police officers in Beverly Hills will be on tactical alert through Election Day. A SWAT team from Santa Paula will augment the force and along with 80 private security guards, all ex-military or law enforcement. They will patrol the city starting on Halloween in an effort to deter criminal activity.
“I would even now venture to say that we’re the most prepared city in all the state of California, possibly the nation,” Lt. Max Subin, BHPD, said.
The city’s emergency operations center will also be activated with the city council authorizing $4.8 million to cover the cost of the election security plan.
“If people want to come and voice their opinion, their amendment right, absolutely we’re not gonna hold that back from them,” Johnson said. “But anyone that’s gonna get unruly, if someone tries to do that now, we’ll they’re not even gonna be able to get on Rodeo Drive.”
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