Michael Jackson's death: Police to monitor fan activity on one-year anniversary
Law enforcement officials have an “event action plan” in place to keep order and ensure peace and safety as fans mark the first anniversary of pop legend Michael Jackson's death on Friday, police said.
Increased security will be deployed at the Jackson family residence in Encino, and fans expecting to visit Forest Lawn Memorial Park cemetery, where the music icon is buried, will have limited access and face strict rules.
“We hope that anyone who decides to go to either venue does so safely and pays attention to what security officers tell them, and hopefully it will be a fun weekend for everyone,” said Capt. John Egan, commanding officer for the West Valley Division of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Egan said law enforcement officials met with the Jackson family two months ago to devise a plan, and family members were scheduled to be out of town Friday.
Although it seems likely that more fans would flock to Jackson’s burial site than to the family home, Egan, who spent two weeks at the Jackson compound following the pop star’s death on June 25 last year, said his division was ready for all possibilities.
“Our philosophy is we plan for the worst-case scenario of thousands of people and for the best-case scenario of a smaller number,” Egan said.
Temporary “no parking” signs have already been installed, and police are prepared to close off streets in the event of an extraordinarily large influx of fans, vehicles and “looky-loos,” Egan said.
Police have consulted with neighborhood residents, and those who live on the same street as the Jacksons have been issued parking placards that will allow them access to their homes if streets are closed off, Egan said.
They have also been given a special contact number, which they can call with any concerns beginning Friday at 6 a.m. There will be a “zero-tolerance approach” toward unruly behavior and activities such as street vendors selling souvenirs, Egan said.
“The plan will go through the entire weekend … to ensure fans and residents in the area are not impacted by the event,” he added.
The West Valley Division is coordinating its increased security efforts with the Glendale Police Department, which covers Forest Lawn Memorial Park, where Jackson is buried.
Jackson died after suffering a cardiac arrest at his rented Holmby Hills mansion. He was pronounced dead at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
The Los Angeles County coroner's office later ruled that Jackson died from "acute Propofol intoxication" in combination with the use of sedatives. Jackson’s personal doctor, Conrad Murray, was charged in February with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the pop star’s death.
According to information issued by Glendale police, visitors to Forest Lawn on Friday should expect a significant increase in guests. Fans will be allowed to walk by the front of the Holly Terrace area of the Great Mausoleum, where Jackson is interred.
They can leave tributes, such as flowers, in a designated area and then must exit the park, authorities said. No commercial or professional photography will be allowed “without the express written consent of Forest Lawn,” officials said.
Doves, candles, balloons, incense, posters, statues, radios and video cameras are prohibited at the cemetery, which is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
-- Ann M. Simmons
Photo: A Michael Jackson fan places flowers outside the family home in Encino after his death last year. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times