October 3, 2013 9:39:29 AM
As Starkville's weekend population swells with visitors to Bulldog Bash and Mississippi State University's home game against Louisiana State University, local law enforcement agencies will increase the amount of officers patrolling city and county roads.
Starkville Police Department will increase the number of active police officers from seven per shift to 26 during Bulldog Bash, Chief David Lindley said. Oktibbeha County Sheriff Steve Gladney confirmed his office will utilize a similar increase -- five to about 10 -- to help police county roads.
Both agencies will utilize grants to help meet overtime pay demands, they said.
Headlining Bulldog Bash, an event which organizers expect will bring in about 30,000 visitors, are rock group Black Crowes and country musician Chris Young.
The Atlanta-based Crowes, led by brothers Chris and Rich Robinson, have sold more than 35 million albums in the past 25 years. The band's latest album, "Wiser for the Time," was released earlier this year.
Young, who was born in Murfreesboro, Tenn., is known for numerous top-charting songs, including the platinum-selling "Tomorrow." He signed with RCA Records after winning 2006's "Nashville Star."
The bash begins at 3 p.m. Friday with a fanfare event, followed by a 4-6 p.m. grilling competition and 5:30's Dawg Rally. The Crowes will follow Young's 8 p.m. performance.
"We're expecting another record crowd Friday. We encourage everyone to enjoy the event, but please remember to use good judgment any time you're at a very crowded venue," Lindley said. "We also caution everyone to use good judgment if they choose to consume alcohol."
"Friday and Saturday nights will be a busy time for us with the large volume of traffic the county will experience with the extra people coming out," Gladney added. "We hope the weather is good, but there's a chance of rain this weekend. We want to remind everyone to wear their seat belts."
Besides alcohol-related incidents, Lindley says SPD responds to numerous injury calls while patrolling the event. Twisted ankles, he said, are commonplace during Bulldog Bash.
"It's kind of a strange thing, but it's understandable if you're wearing improper footwear and in close proximity to others in the crowd," he said.
If the outdoor concert is rained out, MSU will shuttle visitors to the event's alternate location, the Miss. Horse Park.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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