In wake of the Highland Park shooting, we reached out to local leaders and event organizers to learn more about security measures that are now in place to prevent public acts of violence.
We spoke with the City of Erie Police chief about the department’s role at large scale events taking place downtown.
Members of law enforcement and event organizers are working to make sure that police are prepared to respond to any potential shootings.
The public shooting that took place in Highland Park, Illinois has caused devastation in their community. This shooting is also prompting conversations over security at large scale events nationwide.
Erie City Police told us that they often take a look at their security plans following incidents such as this shooting.
“I think it’s only a matter of time unfortunately. We have to plan for that type of situation,” said Dan Spizarny, Chief of Erie City Police Department.
Spizarny said that about 10 years ago they began putting rifles in patrol cars for officers to use in emergency situations.
Spizarny said that this is now a standard across the nation and officers are trained on how to use them.
“If they need to put down a threat, they’re prepared now that they have the tools we do. Do the trainings and it’s just something we evaluate on a yearly basis,” said Spizarny.
One representative from the Erie Downtown Partnership said that in recent months they have revisited safety measures for large events such as the St. Patrick’s Day parade.
“We’ve really revamped our security protocols at our events that we’re prepared in the event of a catastrophe like that. We started working with the city police more directly to get on duty police officers to work our events instead of off duty security officers,” said Dave Tamulonis, Events Manager for Erie Downtown Partnership.
The executive director of the Erie Port Authority said that they have updated their security plan for this year.
This plan includes an emergency preparedness plan that outlines a variety of scenarios that could take place at Liberty Park.
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“We have both armed and unarmed security, and always have at Erie Bank Eight Great Tuesdays, as well as some of the other events that are held at Liberty Park. Our security is specifically trained in maritime and port security, so a little added benefit for that purpose,” said Brenda Sandberg, Executive Director of Erie Port Authority.