UPDATED 8/15/13 at 3:20 pm
Last November, Burbank police were caught unprepared as hundreds of car enthusiasts invaded the Empire Center, bringing traffic and life in the area to a virtual halt.
This time, Burbank police monitored social media sites and when it was announced that Burbank was once again to host the car night, they sprang into action, mobilizing officers from a dozen agencies such as Glendale, LA County Sheriff, CHP, San Marino, Alhambra and other officers to assist through mutual aid.
Cars started showing up a little after 3:00 and police were waiting. They started examining cars as they entered and looked for any kind of safety violations. Upon seeing one, they then continued the search of the vehicle to find any other violations and ticketed the driver. Motor officers roamed the streets while other units stayed inside the Empire Center to watch and monitor vehicles.
By 7:00 pm, police decided that the Empire Center was full and closed it to all incoming outside traffic for the event that was not scheduled to start until 9:00 pm. Police did allow patrons of stores along with guests of the hotels to continue to enter.
Around 8:00 pm, both off ramps of the I-5 Freeway were also shut down so cars could not enter the area from surrounding communities. Some motorists found other ramps, making streets like Front Street unassailable as far down as the Metrolink Station.
Around 9:00 pm, many cars began to leave and along with cars who were not able to get in, started to gather at places such as Costco and both Ralph’s Stores in the area. Police were able to disband the cars without incident.
Many residents described the noise as irritating, along with the traffic tie ups and the duration of both media and police helicopters flying overhead for several hours.
Sgt. Darin Ryburn of the Burbank Police Department put the number of cars allowed in around 1,100 and they carried close to 5,000 people. He said there were 74 citations given for equipment and infractions that were issued on the night. No one was taken into custody at the event but there were five misdemeanor Arrest Citations issued (3 marijuana cites/2 speed contest cites) at the event.
Note: Chief Photographer Ross A. Benson was in the area most of the night and contributed to this story