CHARLOTTE – Saturday is the final night for Speed Street in uptown Charlotte and thousands of people are expected to turn out for food, drinks and live music. Last year, the night took a deadly turn, so police are out in force to try and keep everyone safe.
Among the security is a group of Charlotte-Mecklenburg school resource officers, who will keep an eye on students -- many of whom they know personally. Specifically, those officers will be looking out for underage drinkers and people breaking curfew.
Police say the personal relationship gives them an advantage when dealing with a crowd of kids causing trouble because the resource officers can call people out by name.
"What we've found is, particularly with juveniles, is if you have a person of responsibility that can hold them accountable, and the way they do that, they take away their anonymity,” said CMPD Maj. Jeff Estes. “A lot of times, teens in a large crowd believe 'no one will know it's me.'"
Last year, one person was shot and killed uptown after the official Speed Street festivities ended, leading to a chaotic scene that ended in 70 arrests. Many of those arrested were youngsters.
After that happened, the city adjusted teen curfews and more community organizations began monitoring teen activity at uptown gatherings.
The city has declared speed street an extraordinary event, which gives police more authority to control crowds.