Dec. 2, 2021
By Ed Byrne
The Brillion News
WRIGHTSTOWN – The Wrightstown Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 4, has 47 units registered to participate.
But there’s also an unregistered entry: memories of the Waukesha Christmas Parade on November 21 when a SUV driven by a Milwaukee man plowed into marchers in the parade at high speed, killing six and injuring 60 more.
Because of what happened in Waukesha, Wrightstown Police Chief Greg Deike said extra protection will be provided for the local parade that begins at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
“We are doing some different things for the parade this year,” Deike said. “Our job is to reduce or minimize casualties.”
Deike said that if someone wants to injure or kill someone else it is always possible. But police don’t want to make it easy.
“What we are going to do it to have bigger trucks in the back of the parade to block it,” the chief said. “If someone wants to do a vehicle assault from the rear, they are going to hit some big trucks first.”
He said it will not be possible for a vehicle to attack the high school band – for example – as the band members march in the parade.
“The [police] car that leads the front of the parade obviously has a clear picture of what’s going on in front of him,” Deike said. “If, all of a sudden, a vehicle starts coming down the street, that squad is going to take them out.”
He said the squad car would block the approaching vehicle and the officer would take action to neutralize the threat.
Deike said things have changed because of the Waukesha incident.
“In the past, who was the last person in the parade? Santa,” he said. “Not this year.”
The winter parade route is not long, with only a few cross streets. Village officers and troopers from the Wisconsin State Patrol will be stationed at every intersection.
“If somebody wants to do something, they can, but we are going to minimize casualties,” Deike said.
The village had considered using portable concrete barriers to block side streets, but determined that was too big an operation for a parade that normally lasts less than an hour.