Local law enforcement is ramping up its presence in anticipation of the Hoopfest crowds coming to Spokane this weekend.
Starting on Friday, Washington State Patrol troopers from around the state will be in Spokane to focus on speed, distracted driving and impaired driving, according to a statement from the WSP. The Spokane Police Department will also be increasing its presence to help ensure a fun and safe time, Spokane police spokesman Cpl. Nick Briggs said.
The influx of thousands of Hoopfest participants and spectators tends to also increase the number of DUI incidents, Briggs said.
“Uber and Lyft and Rideshare are really affordable,” he said. “Utilize those services so everyone can stay safe.”
WSP will be enforcing speed limits with aerial patrols and will be pulling over impaired drivers with DUI enforcement patrols. WSP’s mobile lab will also be in Spokane to assist with processing and booking impaired drivers.
Hoopfest is the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the world with more than 24,000 playing at more than 420 basketball courts throughout the city. The event was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic but returns Saturday and Sunday. Roads will be closed between Sprague and Mallon avenues throughout downtown and north of the river beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m.
The crowds will be large, the traffic will be heavy and the weather is expected to be warm, Briggs said.
“This is one of the best events that Spokane has, and I would just ask that people keep a cool and calm head and enjoy it,” he said.
Spokane County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Spokane Valley traffic deputies will also be adding extra patrols throughout the weekend, said Cpl. Mark Gregory, sheriff’s office spokesman .
Visitors and locals alike should take extra caution around the Spokane River and the lakes during the weekend, Gregory added. While the warm weather may entice people to take a dip, the water is still going to be very cold and moving rapidly.
“The river right now, with the flow, is extremely dangerous,” he said.
WSP also advises drivers to plan for increased travel time in the Spokane area due to the event.
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