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Police prepare for Woodward Dream Cruise, patrolling streets and sky

Posted at 10:17 PM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-15 23:18:33-04

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) — The Woodward Dream Cruise is just four days away, and vintage cars are already hitting the roadway in Royal Oak.

"I figured I'd come out early today and have a good time," said Richard Dryalski, who had his chair set up along Woodward Avenue.

This event draws hundreds of thousands of people, which is why safety preparation starts a year in advance.

One thing they are doing is setting a size limit for the cars cruising down these roads.

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said there will be no commercial vehicle, no vehicles heavier than 10,00 pounds and no trailers.

On Friday, Woodward Avenue across multiple city lines will be littered with classic cars.

Ferndale Police Department Chief Dennis Emmi says security for those cruising and those watching is top of mind.

"We don't take lightly," Emmi said. "It does weigh heavy on our minds whenever you have upward of a million people come to your county."

Sue Samelak who lives in Troy says at these events, anything can happen.

"That's the problem. You got to be really be careful,” Samelak said. "You really got to be careful, especially with all the kids."

Even at the most family-friendly of events, tragedy can happen.

Back in December, a Christmas parade in Wisconsin turned deadly when a man drove through a crowd of people with his SUV. More recently, a man opened fire from a rooftop in Illinois killing six people and injuring 30.

"That was a game changer for law enforcement. I can tell you that my colleagues and I, we have discussed that scenario and we are doing everything we can to prepare for it," Emmi said.

Bouchard said after the Illinois shooting, he reached out to several local police chiefs and launched what's called "Operation Overwatch."

Come Friday, law enforcement won't just have boots on the ground, but also eyes in the sky.

"That overwatch program will not only be crewed aircraft, but other kinds of aircraft and we are focused on trying to imagine threats to our community," Bouchard said. "And getting in front of it, but that's the challenge, trying to imagine the unimaginable."

Most years, Dream Cruise has gone without major incident.

Don Roeske and his wife are still grateful to have so many officers securing the area.

"We appreciate them being out here," Roeske said.

Emmi says Ferndale police will have about 24 officers out patrolling. Bouchard says OCSO will have over 200 deputies patrolling.

Anyone attending this event should be aware of their surroundings.

If you see something off, don't hesitate to report it. Police would prefer to check it out, even if it's nothing.