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Expect More Police At This Weekend’s Pride Fest In Louisville

Ludovic Bertron, via Wikimedia Commons

This week’s Kentuckiana Pride Fest will be dotted with police and private security in the wake of the violent attack at an LGBT club in Orlando last weekend that killed 49 and injured dozens more.

But just how big a police presence there will be isn’t clear.

The Louisville Metro Police Department’s First Division will increase patrols for the festival, according to a department spokeswoman. The First Division includes the downtown area from Phoenix Hill to Portland.

The exact number of additional officers set to patrol the area isn’t being released “due to tactical and intelligence purposes,” the police spokeswoman said.

Law enforcement agencies across the country are announcingplans this week to boost security at similarly planned Pride events after the mass shooting in Orlando, which was the deadliest in U.S. history.

Mayor Greg Fischer is encouraging residents to attend Friday’s Kentuckiana Pride Fest parade to show “compassion and unity” with the area’s LGBTQ community in the days following the deadly attack.

“Let’s send a message to all people that no matter their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, background, religion or nationality, we in Louisville stand united,” Fischer said in a news release Tuesday.

Fischer will be joined in the parade by Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad, according to a police spokeswoman.

When asked about security details for the event, a spokesman for Fischer’s office said “we have been working with parade organizers and have a solid security plan.” He said city police and private security would be present at the event that’s expected to draw thousands to downtown Louisville.

The 16th annual Kentuckiana Pride Fest is set for June 17 and June 18. The parade will begin Friday at 7 p.m. downtown. Festivities kick off at noon Saturday on The Belvedere and will last until 11 p.m.

Chris Hartman, executive director of Louisville’s Fairness Campaign, said he expects increased security at Pride-related events locally.

“I wouldn’t expect it to look any different than it normally does,” he said. “I just think that there will be extra precautions taken.”

Hartman said the mood of the entire event will be “irrevocably altered” and “dampened” due to the Orlando attacks. Yet he was quick to add the attacks are bringing the community together.

Earlier this week, Hartman and Fairness helped organize a vigil for the victims of the Orlando shooting. Nearly 5,000 people attended the event on the Big Four Bridge near downtown Louisville.

“We want to see the entire community come out and stand strong and stand proud,” he said.

Jacob Ryan is the urban affairs reporter forWFPL.
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