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Publish Date: 8/29/2005

Loveland authorities ready for Thunder visitors


LOVELAND - As a possible 50,000 bikers roll into town — bringing money to spend throughout the region and an estimated $90,000 in tax revenue for the city — area law enforcement agencies will be doling out thousands in overtime to keep things safe.

In fact, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and the Loveland Police Department are requiring all commissioned officers to work Labor Day weekend during the Thunder in the Rockies motorcycle rally.

No family barbecues or joy rides for these guys and gals.

It’s long days at work, just in case.

“We’re not sure what to anticipate,” said Loveland Police Capt. Bob Klinger.

“We’ll take it one day at a time, and we’ll send people home if we don’t need them.”

City officers, county deputies and state troopers will be covering the city streets and county roads as usual. But extra officers will be on duty to handle The Ranch, the rally headquarters.

Loveland police will direct traffic at Crossroads Boulevard and Interstate 25, provide security at The Ranch and have officers to respond to calls, all working 12-hour shifts.

The Sheriff’s Office plans 19 extra officers each day, spread out over the hours and through the county, plus nine officers stationed at The Ranch.

Officials estimated the extra officers will cost $118,000 for both departments. Of that, The Ranch will reimburse about $30,000 for the officers on security there, commanders said.

Colorado State Patrol troopers will flood the area as well. Grant money will pay for extra troopers, who normally would have the days off, to help cover the area and respond to accidents.

“We always have everybody that’s available working Labor Day,” said Capt. Bob Parish of the Fort Collins troop. “Labor Day is busy no matter where you’re at in Colorado.”

Medical staffs — at area hospitals and Thompson Valley Emergency Medical Services — also have plans to increase staffing in case they need to handle more emergencies.

And for the first time, Loveland Municipal Court is opening Saturday and Sunday to allow out-of-towners to handle tickets before they leave, including people taken to the detention center because they could not post bond.

“Because of the jail situation, the population at the jail, I thought it would be useful if we are able to address those issues quicker,” Judge Bill Starks said.

Just north of Loveland, Fort Collins Police Services also has planned to have extra officers for the rally, and dispatchers will work 12-hour shifts.

Riders are expected to visit Fort Collins, which is holding concerts in Old Town on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The downtown area also has many shops and restaurants.

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