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Police and event organizers prepared for two big outdoor festivals

Posted at 6:57 PM, Oct 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-03 18:57:37-04

RICHMOND, Va. - Two large, outdoor festivals are planned in the city of Richmond in the weeks following the mass shooting at country music festival in Las Vegas.

Organizers of each event told CBS 6 they have been in contact with Richmond Police about security plans following the tragedy on the Las Vegas strip Sunday night.

The Second Street Festival begins Saturday, and the Folk Festival starts October 13. Both events are hosted by Venture Richmond and draw thousands of music fans to Jackson Ward and Tredegar respectively.

Festival organizers said they rely on Richmond Police for security planning and have been in contact with the department this week. Officials said they could not release the details of their plans; however, they said their team spends months mapping out how to keep festival goers safe anytime there is a large event planned.

Former police captain Steve Neal said there is always the unpredictability factor at any outdoor event which draws a large crowd, but that police departments can ensure safety through planning, coordination, and practice.

“Law enforcement is going to go back and review the plan they have to see if there are any holes or any places where they need to improve what they already planned for,” Neal said.

The former police captain said it cannot be reiterated enough that event goers also play a role in safety at open air venues.

“If somebody sees something that they feel is not right, something that they feel is out of the way, something that they think is suspicious, then of course notify law enforcement,” Neal said. "Let law enforcement investigate. Maybe they’ll be something that needs to be done, maybe there is not. . . If it turns out there is not a problem, well good.”

Regina Miles, who said she has been coming to the Second Street Festival her entire life, said while she would not mind having a few more officers around this weekend, she could not miss the antique cars and the food at this year’s festival.

“I’ll be here. I may be one of the first ones. Getting up at five o’clock [that morning], get straight, and come on down!” Miles said.