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Dolphin Tale II keeps Clearwater cops busy with traffic snarls

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With the sequel of Dolphin Tale II in production at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) in Clearwater, Fla., the movie set, production crews, and a plethora of equipment has the Clearwater cops dealing with traffic congestion. Clearwater police bulletins are admonishing the public to expect huge traffic delays and to seek alternate routes until the filming production is concluded.

The Clearwater Police Department (CPD) in Clearwater, Fla., does not have the luxury like that of the New York City Police Department (NYPD). The NYPD, the largest municipal police agency in the nation with 35,000 cops, has a designated Movie Unit. Essentially, NYPD cops assigned the Movie Unit are posted at and around the periphery of movie being filmed in NYC. The Clearwater Police Department has no such unit, so the patrol units assigned street duties are relegated to traffic control duties in addition to their ordinary tasks of patrolling the city and responding to calls for service.

With a contingent of 231 sworn police officers, the CPD is essentially hard-pressed when it comes to extraordinary challenges such as safely controlling tremendous traffic snarls in and around the Dolphin Tale II sets and arteries leading to it.

With the return of popular celebrities such as Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Kris Kristofferson, and Harry Connick, Jr., among others, cast members draw a phalanx of spectators and fans. Regular patronage at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium --those who are vacationing and wishing to see the sea life-- will have to wait until January 25, 2014, when movie filming is expected to be concluded.

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is situated in a marina-based portion of Clearwater. The roadways leading to and from CMA narrow down to single lanes each way.

"Winter", the dolphin-star who portrayed herself in Dolphin Tale, will be joined in the sequel by "Hope", a baby dolphin with her own story to share.

Clearwater cops have some hope of traffic not becoming too monumental, and that motorists exercise patience.

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