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City opts out of greasing light poles during victory parade to deter climbing

June 18, 2009 | 12:56 pm

In the run-up to the Lakers' victory parade, Los Angeles police tried to consider and prepare for every possible contingency.

So it was cause for some angst in the pre-parade command briefings when one request in particular by the Los Angeles Police Department went unfulfilled by the city's general services department.

Los Angeles police commanders had asked the department to apply grease to lighting standards along the parade route in an effort to thwart anyone who might get the idea to climb up them for a closer look, or worse.

Because the lights hang over the street, planners worried that someone might get the bright idea of trying to drop from one of the light standards into one of the double-decker buses carrying the Lakers players and families.

At one point, LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith jokingly offered to spray the light poles with WD-40.

City officials told the police department that applying the grease was a "risk management issue." But LAPD officials argued the same could be said for not doing it.

In January, an LAPD officer was hurt after being struck in the head with a sign during a protest in Westwood over the Israeli invasion of Gaza. The officer, who was not wearing a helmet, was hit in the head while wading into a crowd where a man had scaled a light standard.

-- Andrew Blankstein