Hollister Police Chief David Westrick's latest "Chief Thoughts" blog discusses this weekend's Hollister Freedom Rally that will run Friday through Sunday in downtown Hollister.
He notes that side streets (5th, 6th and 7th) between East and San Benito and then again San Benito and Monterey will be closed Thursday, with San Benito to remain open until midnight on Thursday. We close it down at midnight on Friday at 12:01 a.m. The rally will be held July 3 and 4 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, July 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"San Benito Street will open (Sunday) at 6 p.m. sharp (or sooner), so you may want to get your bikes off the street right and on the curb right after 3 p.m." Westrick writes. "We have towed a few bikes in the past to facilitate opening the road."
His blog post includes a recap of some of the questions that constituents have asked him. They are listed here:
Chief, what about Waco, Texas and the shooting last year at the rally?
"I fully brief the elected officials on many different public safety disciplines as it relates to our event each year before our event. I have done so this year as well. Ultimately they weigh the information we provide and also the concerns of their constituents. It is their decision completely. They also provide budget, vote on contracts/MOU's and a few attend our planning meetings. I can say they always make informed decisions."
Chief are you going to do anything different this year for public safety?
"No, not really different. We are adding a few things behind the scenes to enhance officer/patron safety and will probably have better communications features. Public safety is the #1 priority with our event."
Chief can I bring my dog to the rally?
"No pets are allowed in the event area (California compliant service animals are the exception). There will be a place to kennel your dog for a fee on 5th, near East."
Can I have my pocket knife with me at the rally?
"All weapons, tools, blunt instruments, mace / pepper spray or anything resembling a weapon are not allowed in the event area by ordinance. Best advice – leave them home or in your saddle bags."
Chief can I take a picture with you at the rally?
"Sure, if you can find me. I would be happy to take a picture with you at the rally. Only thing I ask is that when you post it, use the hashtag#hollisterproud."
Chief do you like bikers?
"I don't dislike anybody. I don't like labels though. After all, aren't bikers all sons and daughters, or husband and wives, or grandpas and grandmothers? Some are also, dentists, police officers, politicians, bankers, football players and donut makers. Point being, people are people and I don't think you can pigeon hole somebody into a label because people are like onions…they have layers. I like everybody. There is a few people that are bad though, we don't invite them to our event."
Westrick closed with, "So, if you're coming to the event, I truly hope you enjoy yourself. Ride smart, ride safe and enjoy our local Hollister hospitality."