APD steps up safety measures ahead of Austin PRIDE

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — This weekend, thousands will descend into downtown for Austin PRIDE, the annual celebration for any and all things LGBTQ.

This year, however, a dark cloud of worry may loom over the celebration.

With the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, still fresh on the minds of a country weary of events, safety concerns abound.

The Austin Police Department addressed the public via a press conference on what they have planned to keep the masses safe this weekend. The stepped up efforts were announced in part of a larger effort to keep downtown safer after what APD Chief Brian Manley states is an increase in crime. 

“To achieve a safer downtown and address the increase in violence, APD began an initiative last week that has DTAC (Downtown Area Command) officers working a smaller geographical area and utilizing bike patrols to the greatest extent possible,” said Manley in a memorandum to Mayor Steve Adler and city council members. 

(KXAN/Tim Holcomb)

“In addition to these patrol resources, support units from Organized Crime (Street Narcotics and the Gang Unit), Mounted Unit, Metro Tactical Units, Real Time Crime Center (HALO-Public Safety Cameras), and Air Support will assist in the initiative. Texas DPS also volunteered to assist and will be working traffic in the downtown area and downtown IH-35,” added Manley. 

MORE: APD outlines traffic plan for Austin PRIDE Festival

Police did not get into specifics of how they will be stepping up other areas of patrolling downtown for the weekend.

You’ll see the SWAT team in the parade and there may be a SWAT truck that’s in the parade, that’s not because there’s any real fear or any real reason for that to happen. We don’t have any intelligence that says anything bad is going to happen here,” said Assistant Chief Justin Newsom.

(KXAN/Tim Holcomb)

Despite the events in El Paso and Dayton, APD said there will not be a noticeable chance in their protocols for PRIDE. 

“Our response for ACL after the Vegas shooting was basically the same as what we are doing here: we are paying attention to it, we look at the factors of what happened in the other cities it makes us take a second look at our plan to see if there are any gaps that we need to fill,” said Newsom. 

Newsom added that the Department relies on the vigilance of the masses largely for keeping the peace and safety for all. 

“Personal safety starts with vigilance and vigilance is simply recognizing that there are things in the world that can hurt you,” added Newsom. 

For more information on PRIDE events, click here.

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