2014 Thunder Over Louisville to have largest police presence ever
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Violent attacks at Waterfront Park have police changing the plan for Thunder Over Louisville.
Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad says they will have more officers at this Thunder Over Louisville than ever before. More were added after 200 teens gathered at Waterfront Park before committing assaults and robberies throughout downtown two weeks ago.
"We're committed to doing everything that we can to ensure that this is a safe event for anyone that wants to come down," Conrad said.
There will be more than 1,150 law enforcement officials from LMPD and other federal, state and local agencies in place for security and traffic, according to police. Conrad says he wants to send a clear message to people concerned about going to the event: that it will be safe.
Also, for the first time this year, city officials are bringing in volunteers to speak with young people or notify officers if they see a problem.
Conrad emphasizes that the community also needs to step in.
"Thunder is truly a great family-friendly event, and I believe that we want all young people to enjoy this event," he said. "We want all young people to be safe. That begins with proper parental supervision."
Conrad says officers are also patrolling social media. Wednesday, 18-year-old Cameron Malone was arrested for posting threatening messages about the event.
As of Monday, Conrad said, "There are no threats regarding Thunder Over Louisville but that is something we will continue to monitor right up to and through the event."
Conrad says he's hoping that 26 new security cameras at Waterfront Park will be tested and ready by the end of the week. They will be monitored in real-time during the Thunder.
Police say it's important for people to plan out a parking location and route home before heading to Thunder. LMPD traffic officials say the interstates will be re-routed starting at around 8:30 p.m. Saturday night. The full traffic plan will go into effect about an hour later.
"The I-64 east to 65 south ramp is obviously not available anymore, and I expect that we will have more people using our southern routes and western routes to get out of the venue," Lt. Joe Seelye said.
City and event officials say the Clark Memorial Bridge will close on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. and reopen Sunday. The Big 4 Bridge will close at 11:00 a.m. Saturday and reopen later that night.
Walsh Construction officials say most lanes and sidewalks that have been closed for construction will open back up for Saturday.
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