Go ahead, guzzle beer. Yell for beads. But be careful.
Someone may be watching.
For the first time, Tampa police will monitor the annual Gasparilla Pirate Fest parade with security cameras — the $2 million system installed downtown for the Republican National Convention.
But officers monitoring the cameras won't be looking for people with open containers of alcohol, police Chief Jane Castor said Wednesday. That will be an issue for other officers posted along the parade route's perimeter.
Instead, officers will monitor the stationary cameras downtown — as well as five mobile camera units set up along Bayshore Boulevard — for fights, disturbances and other crimes.
"We will also be on the lookout if a child gets separated," Castor said. "Or if anyone gets injured, we'll be able to alert fire-rescue to that."
The festival, which is Jan. 26 this year, draws an estimated 300,000 people to South Tampa for a brunch at the Tampa Convention Center, a flotilla in the bay and the pirate parade along Bayshore Boulevard and into downtown.
After the Republican convention in August, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn decided to keep the 58 surveillance cameras up, despite the concerns of some City Council members. The cameras have since been used to help solve a rape downtown.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has said for months that it does not want police to monitor the cameras at all — and that includes during Gasparilla, state president Mike Pheneger said Wednesday.
"People go to Gasparilla to have a good time, not to be monitored by police," said Pheneger, a retired Army colonel...