The Hannibal Police Department won’t be surprised if it is called on to help keep people off of grass portions of the city's downtown flood levee.
"Over the last few weeks I have attended meetings concerning the current and potential flood issues," said Hannibal Police Chief Lyndell Davis. "Both the mayor and emergency management director have discussed with the city department heads the areas of concern and we are taking the necessary steps to remedy what we may encounter."
Both Mayor James Hark and John Hark, Hannibal's emergency management director, said Tuesday that consideration is being given to fencing off grass portions of the water-saturated flood levee to help protect it. If such a step is taken, anyone caught violating the fenced area will be subject to arrest.
Davis said circumstances will dictate whether a violator would be issued a warning or arrested.
"If someone is attempting to or has damaged any of the flood preventive measures, expect to be arrested," he said. "If you want to see the river, then stay off the grassy areas, sandbags, plywood, etc. Stay on the concrete walkways."
HPD officers have already been keeping a closer eye on the levee than they normally would, performing regular patrols on foot.
"Their primary tasks were to monitor for any weak points on or near the flood wall, plus to keep people and vehicles off the flood wall, the grass area, sandbags, plywood and other barriers," Davis said.
The HPD is no stranger to dealing with high water.
"We (HPD) have dealt with flood situations over the years numerous times, as well as the other city departments, so we will act accordingly," Davis said. "The community is made up of several tough and resilient people, and if we all work together, we can survive this latest flood challenge."