Mayfest organizers have eye on security

April 17, 2013|By Adam Lukach, @lucheezy | RedEye

Chicago summers and street fests go hand in hand.

And in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, fest organizers undoubtedly are turning their attention to security.

Lakeview's Mayfest is one of the very first outdoor festivals of the season, taking place May 17-19, and organizers of the event said they'll be looking closely at security but not necessarily making any changes.

In an email, Star Events vice-president Michelle Krage said organizing security receives close assistance from the City of Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events. An email from Office of Emergency Management and Communication said they also had nothing new to report in regard to a re-evaluation of security and are still in communication with law enforcement partners locally and throughout the country.

"Since almost all summer festivals are open to the public and hosted on public property, we rely heavily on the city and local law enforcement for guidance and instruction on best practices when it comes to safety and security," Krage wrote.

The fest's security staff consists of off-duty officers from the Chicago Police Department and the Cook Country Sherriff's Office, almost all of whom will be from a local district in order to ensure familiarity with the neighborhood and the procedures for the event, Krage wrote. All officers wear a shirt that says "SECURITY," carry a weapon and display their badges.

When asked specifically about Mayfest security in the context of the Boston aftermath, Krage wrote, "We hope to learn more about the details of the tragedy in Boston before we implement any official changes to our security plan. Having said that, we plan to review all security procedures, practices, and plans prior to Mayfest and each event this summer. Our team will connect with local commanders again to discuss appropriate reactions."

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