, Salem, MA

October 31, 2012

150 police officers on duty in Salem for Halloween festivities

Bethany Bray
The Salem News

SALEM — With up to 50,000 Halloween revelers expected in Witch City, tonight is Salem's biggest night of the year.

Police and city leaders develop an uber-detailed operations plan for Halloween.

"If you look at the amount of people we move in and out of here in 16 hours, it works," said Police Chief Paul Tucker. "There's nothing worse than having 50,000 people show up and have nothing to do."

About 150 police officers are on duty in Salem tonight: roughly 90 from the Salem Police Department and the remainder from neighboring towns, the Essex County Sheriff's Department and other agencies.

The Salem Police have "all hands on deck tonight," said Tucker. Uniformed and undercover officers are patrolling on foot, bicycle, ATV, Segway, motorcycle, horses and a range of police vehicles.

Ambulances are posted throughout the downtown.

A surveillance tower is installed in the intersection of Washington and Essex streets, which sends a live video feed of goings-on to the Salem Police station.

Tucker noted that the city has seen a large turnout in the weeks leading up to Halloween this year. In the past three weekends, "I've never seen crowds like this," he said.

On Halloween, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll is the definition of "working mother."  She splits her time between downtown, managing affairs and checking in with police, and home, doing trick-or-treating with her kids, ages 15, 12 and 10.