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AUSTIN (AP) – More police officers will be on patrol in Austin during South By Southwest 2015, after a driver plowed his car into a crowd killing four people during the festival last year, a police official told a public safety panel.
At least 180 more officers will be present for crowd control and to respond to other safety concerns during the March 13-22 music, film and interactive festival and conference, according to Assistant Chief Jason Dusterhoft, who addressed the Austin Public Safety Commission on Monday.
About 60 additional officers will focus on code enforcement and responding to 911 calls, and the police presence will be more noticeable, especially at intersections blocked off to traffic, he said.
“At every key intersection there will be an officer with a marked patrol unit, with their lights on,” Dusterhoft said.
An additional 120 officers will make up a response team for crowd control near the end of the festival, traditionally the busiest time. Details were not immediately available on the total number of officers expected to be on patrol during SXSW.
Police determined a driver was legally drunk last March when officers tried to stop his car, which then veered into a crowd. Four people were killed and nearly two dozen were hurt.
The suspect, Rashad Owens of Killeen, remained jailed Tuesday on capital murder and aggravated assault charges.
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