COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The Columbus Pride Festival begins in less than 24 hours and police have laid out their security plan for the busy weekend.
Deputy Chief Michael Woods with the CPD Homeland Security subdivision said there will be an increased police presence this year. They estimate about 500,000 people will attend the event.
“It’s one of our larger events, so we pay attention to it, but honestly in the last several years we’re paying attention to every event of this nature,” he said.
Deputy Chief Woods said there are no specific threats this year to the City of Columbus or the Pride event, but they do keep an eye on attacks and terror threats happening across the nation and around the world.
“We look at the vehicles that have been used and we look at the attacks so that’s why we have that combination, that security package, of plain clothes, uniform, bicycles, mounted unit, some of our specialty units,” he said.
He said you can expect to see extra officers in uniform and on bikes, as well as an increased presence of officers you won’t see in plain-clothes.
“With the Pulse nightclub attack last year it’s just again one of those things that we’re paying attention to,” said Deputy Chief Woods. “That’s why the call for extra resources is here.”
Bomb squads will be doing sweeps of trash cans and other areas. Portable barriers and blocked intersection will also be in place, meant to stop anyone from driving into a crowd.
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He said this year’s new location at Bicentennial and Genoa Park won’t change much in terms of security.
“We look at the location, but really what we look at is the event,” said Deputy Chief Woods. “What’s going on around us and we’re adaptable to wherever that event is going to be held.”
If you bring a bag or backpack, don’t leave it unattended. He said also be sure to put your name and phone number on it.
“We want them to interact with police. Go up and talk to an officer and it’s something that is said often at these types of events, but we want to re-iterate if you see something, say something,” he said.