America's Challenge Updates
Inside the Basket - Lt. Zak Cottrell, APD
June 28, 2019
Lieutenant Zak Cottrell of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) oversees the direction of guests traveling to and from Balloon Fiesta Park.
In this month’s Inside the Basket, learn more about APD’s role in guest safety and take a look at some of Lieutentant Cottrell’s favorite tips to help guests have a safe and fun experience.
1. Give a brief overview of your position with the Albuquerque Police Department and how you are involved with Balloon Fiesta.
I am currently the Lt over the Traffic Division. For Balloon Fiesta, I am the supervisor over all traffic related direction for parking and Park and Ride.
2. What is the Albuquerque Police Department’s (APD) role in coordinating public safety on the field and helping guests get to and from Balloon Fiesta Park during the nine-day event?
The Albuquerque Police Department has numerous officers on the field to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable time. In addition to the officers on the field, the Albuquerque Police Department has almost 100 officers that are dedicated to helping direct traffic in and out of the Balloon Fiesta Parking lots. Their sole job is to help traffic flow as quickly and efficiently as possible.
3. What can guests who are driving to Balloon Fiesta do to help keep traffic moving smoothly?
Arriving early is always the best option. The earlier the better. In addition to arriving early, drivers can pay attention to the officers’ directions in order to help keep traffic moving.
4. What is your favorite part about being involved with Balloon Fiesta?
Balloon Fiesta is a great time of year for us. We get to interact with the public in a non-enforcement way. We get to showcase our professionalism and interact with the community, both from Albuquerque and those that are visiting from all over the country and many from other countries.
5. What three public safety/traffic tips do you have for Balloon Fiesta guests who will be attending this year’s event?
Arrive early, be patient and have fun!