Main Street Arts Festival Continues Security Review

Organizers, city staff and police continue to look at how to make outdoor event even safer

By Chris Van Horne
|  Tuesday, Apr 16, 2013  |  Updated 7:38 PM CDT
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In light of the bombings in Boston, organizers are reviewing security plans for the Main Street Arts Festival in Fort Worth this weekend.

Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 Fort Worth Reporter

In light of the bombings in Boston, organizers are reviewing security plans for the Main Street Arts Festival in Fort Worth this weekend.

Organizers of one of Fort Worth's largest outdoor events are reviewing security measures in wake of Monday's bombing at the Boston Marathon.

The Main Street Arts Festival begins Thursday and covers nine blocks of downtown from the convention center north and through Sundance Square. It is one of the city's most popular events, indoors or out.

City staff, arts festival organizers and the police department continue to meet about the safety plan. A meeting to review the plan early Tuesday morning was called on Monday. Officials also met on Tuesday afternoon.

Main Street Arts is one of the city's most popular events, indoors or out.

"We have tens of thousands of folks who attend each year," said Jay Downie, event producer for the festival.

But as organizers continue to set up tents, signs and mark display booths, the events in Boston are never far away from mind or the event itself. Newspapers with photos and headlines sit along the sidewalks where thousands will come this weekend.

"We are gathering information and data from an event perspective to make sure to continue that we do nothing but ensure the safety of our patrons and guests," Downie said.

On Monday, Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead announced police staffing for the event would increase.

At a City Council meeting Tuesday morning, Halstead reiterated his plans to add on-duty uniformed officers to patrol the festival, along with an increase in plainclothes, or undercover, officers working inside and outside the event's perimeter.

The meeting concluded with a moment of silence for the victims. 

Some part of Halstead's plans would not be revealed, but visitors should feel comfortable with the police presence, as well as the additional tools of video surveillance and the various security bike patrols in the area, he said.

"For many, many years we've had the advantage of a lot of surveillance equipment downtown that are fixed within a building, and also the relationships we have with XTO and the Safe City Commission as well as the Bass Companies," Halstead said. "We have the integrated public-private partnerships."

But he said the most important weapon is the public.

"They're going to see something that they feel does not fit -- as with any event, they need to come up to a uniformed officer and let them know what they saw and why they thought it was suspicious," Halstead said. "That's real critical."

From City Hall to the festival organizers and police, everyone wants to reiterate that the event will be safe, even as officials continue to look at ways to improve their plan to keep everyone safe.

Halstead has a personal connection to Boston. He told the City Council that he is good friends with Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis, and said he sent him an email after Monday's events, knowing full well how busy his friend is with the investigation.

The Main Street Arts Festival runs from Thursday until Sunday.

More: Main Street Arts Festival

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