Editorials

Ocean Springs made right call to keep parade rolling

The Ocean Springs Carnival Association Parade rolls the night of Feb. 13, 2015.
The Ocean Springs Carnival Association Parade rolls the night of Feb. 13, 2015. Special to the Sun Herald/File

In the end, Ocean Springs got it right.

Last week, a deputy police chief asked aldermen to cancel the city’s Mardi Gras night parade. The deputy chief cited safety concerns, saying officers had been assaulted at the parade each of the last three years.

Aldermen, though, were leery of canceling the parade that last year drew 30,000 to 40,000 people, because, as city officials say, “Ocean Springs is an event city.”

Just a couple of days after the meeting, Police Chief Mark Dunston held a press conference and told the Sun Herald’s Karen Nelson the call for canceling the Mardi Gras night parade was a miscommunication and the parade has his blessing to roll as scheduled through downtown Feb. 24.

That was exactly what he needed to say.

Ocean Springs Police Chief Mark Dunston held a press conference on Thursday, December 8, 2016, to address the issue of whether there was a call to cancel the Ocean Springs night parade. Dunston said it was a miscommunication.

In 2015, 24 arrests were made at the night parade. As Nelson reported, the idea going forward would be not to cancel the parade but to make the 2017 parade safer with more law enforcement, more barricades, more parking rules and more officers in the big Swingster parking lot on Government Street, where people gather.

That seems a more prudent approach than to cancel the parade altogether.

We commend Dunston and Ocean Springs city officials for finding the middle ground. All of our local Mardi Gras parades are popular family events, and we would be sad to see any of them stop rolling.

The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.

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