Pride weekend is one of the biggest events Atlanta has to offer, and with over 300,000 attendees, security is of the utmost importance. With concerts, a festival, marches, and a parade, this weekend is like four huge events in one, and the security reflects that. While you have worry-free fun, many are working hard behind the scenes to keep it that way. Georgia Voice sat down with Atlanta Pride Committee (APC) Executive Director Jamie Fergerson, as well as a representative of the Atlanta Police Department (APD), to discuss what measures are being taken to ensure that Atlanta’s LGBTQ community not only has fun this weekend but is kept safe, as well.
If there’s one thing for sure, this weekend will definitely not be short on security: volunteer security, t-shirt security, and police will be visibly sprinkled around the park to keep the festival safe and secure. “We work with festival organizers to ensure we have enough officers to provide a safe environment and respond to any crisis,” Carlos Campos, the Director of the Public Affairs Unit at the APD, told the Georgia Voice. “Atlanta Police officers will be visible.”
While Campos wasn’t able to divulge any of the specific measures the department is taking to protect attendees (for security reasons), he tells the Georgia Voice that the department’s past experience, plus an examination of incidents across the country and world, allow the APD to protect festival goers.
“[W]e have experience securing major events of all shapes and size, ranging from the Super Bowl to the annual Peachtree Road Race,” Campos said. “We also are constantly examining incidents throughout the U.S. and the world to learn about potential threats and [we] adjust our tactics accordingly.”
Atlanta’s police won’t just be at Pride on guard; they’ll be there in support, too. “Pride is a wonderful event celebrating our city’s diversity,” Campos said. “We look forward to participating every year in greater numbers and take great pride ourselves in ensuring all participants feel safe and are able to enjoy themselves. We hope everyone feels welcomed and encourage them to interact with our officers, who will be visible and engaged.”
According to Fergerson, social media will also be monitored for potential threats, and hard coolers will be banned to keep people safe. Similar security measures will be taken for the parade and marches, along with street closures to keep motor traffic off the roads and EMS escorts. Attendees aren’t the only people who need to be protected: this year’s diverse lineup of entertainers will be safe thanks to onsite security and law enforcement, a secure backstage, and bag, ID, and wristband checks.