SAN JOSE -- Police will be ready for Mardi Gras revelers who get drunk and out of control during annual unofficial downtown celebrations tonight, but officials expect it to go down as it has in recent years, unmarred by the violence that once plagued the event.
"Basically what we're doing is what we do every year," said San Jose police spokesman Officer Albert Morales. "We'll be monitoring the downtown area, and have the midnight officers coming in early to supplement the swing shift officers. If we need them, we'll have them available to respond."
Morales said they'll have about 66 officers who can be readily assigned to downtown detail, more than five times the number usually in the area.
But Morales, who worked some of the more notorious celebrations more than a decade ago, didn't expect trouble this year. It's been seven calm years since the 2006 event that was marred by four stabbings, vandalized cars and crowds throwing bottles at police clad in riot gear.
Previous years saw similar acts of vandalism and in 2001, a flipped car and smashed storefronts.
"We haven't seen anything like that in recent years," Morales said.
He said the celebration is "very unofficial, but every nightclub and bar will have drink specials. You'll see the usual drunks in the street."
Last year, 14 people were arrested during Mardi Gras celebrations downtown. Four were teens, three were people who lived outside of San Jose and six were felony arrests, mostly for being in possession of an illegal weapon.
The year before saw 26 arrests, the same number as 2010. There were 16 in 2009 and about four dozen in 2008.
Contact Eric Kurhi at 408-920-5852. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi.