Three Rivers Festival organizers ramping up security measures

Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 5:33 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) - In the aftermath of the mass shooting in Chicago Monday, some people in Fort Wayne may feel uneasy about attention large events. Three Rivers Festival is coming up this weekend and organizers say they’re prepared to keep people safe.

The festival brings tens of thousands of people downtown each year, especially this year with the return of the parade and so many Fort Wayne favorites. With all those people in one place, there are concerns.

Three Rivers Festival Executive Director Justin Shurley says he understands why people might feel a little on edge right now. He says they’ve been working with the Fort Wayne Police Department ahead of the festival to ramp up their safety measures.

“Obviously our hearts go out to everyone involved in that. Safety is our top concern for everyone,” Shurley said. “This is something that’s very concerning and I’m sure everyone should be vigilant about. We take it very seriously. We will be stepping up some security measures.”

He says there will be police officers staged in each part of the festival and if you can’t find one, a festival employee can help you.

FWPD Deputy Chief Marty Bender is in charge of those safety operations and he has been for more than 48 years. He says they’ve already been stepping up their security efforts for the past four or five years.

“We have quick reaction teams that will be scattered around the parade route in case of anything, such as a possible active shooter or something,” Bender said. “Our bomb squad will be walking around the entire time.”

Bender says they’ll also have barricades set up, some aerial support units watching from above and even SWAT trucks on standby just in case.

“The city is in good shape to handle any type of event,” Bender said.

The festival kicks off Saturday morning with the parade at 10a.m.

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