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Police brace for fans marking first anniversary of Michael Jackson's death

Increased security will be deployed at the family home in Encino, and access to the tomb site at Forest Lawn in Glendale will be limited.

June 25, 2010|By Ann M. Simmons, Los Angeles Times

Law enforcement officials said they will follow an "event action plan" Friday intended to ensure peace and safety as fans mark the first anniversary of Michael Jackson's death.

Increased security will be deployed at the Jackson family residence in Encino, and fans expecting to visit Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial-Park, where the music icon is entombed, 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 will flock to Jackson's tomb site than to the family home, Egan, who spent two weeks at the Jackson compound after 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.

Beginning at 6 a.m. Friday, police resources, including motorcycle officers, will be deployed in the vicinity of the family compound. A mobile command center will be set up across the street from the residence, 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. There will be a "zero-tolerance approach" toward unruly behavior and activities such as street vendors selling souvenirs.

"The plan will go through the entire weekend … to ensure fans and residents in the area are not impacted by the event," he added.

Jackson died after suffering 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 determined the cause of death to be "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 death.

According to 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 leave the park, authorities said.

ann.simmons@latimes.com

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