Holiday Weekend Security - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/02/02

Holiday Weekend Security

The Fourth of July--it's perhaps the most patriotic holiday of the year, a time to really show off your American spirit. And even though the country's at war, and despite some worries about terrorist activity, the festivities will go on. On River Street in Savannah, one of the biggest fireworks displays in the Southeast will take place.

It's all about police presence to make sure people know they are safe while celebrating the Fourth. Some measures police can talk about, while disclosing others may jeapordize their affectivness. And it's not just Savannah police helping out--the Waterfront Association is also providing security.

Thousands come each year to see the fireworks on River Street, and this year, with the events of September 11, people are really ready to show their patriotism. "We think it's going to be a record year," said Scott Searcy, director of the Waterfront Association. "We've had a record number of people calling the office saying how they want to bring their families."

Savannah police say they are ready for the crowds already flocking to River Street--this year there will be uniform and plainclothes officers on the street on the Fourth, and they will be on the lookout for antything out of the ordinary.

"Post September 11, we are looking for anything unusual: unusual-looking happening or just a chain of events," said Capt. Gerry Long of SPD.

The Waterfront Association is also stepping up security hiring off-duty Savannah police officers.

"Just to give people that sense of security and safety, to make sure people know they are comfy and safe," Searcy commented.

The festivities don't end after the fireworks: for the first time there will be crowds continuing through the weekend, with the power boat races taking place.

"We don't know what kind of crowd or impact fans may have or what kind of impact will result from that," Capt. Long said.

And while coolers and backbags will be allowed onto River Street for the events, they can and will be searched if Savannah police feel it's necessary.

Police say their biggest concerns for the Fourth are car thefts and robberies, and advise you leave your valuables at home. Some people we spoke with visiting town say September 11 isn't detering them from coming to events, but making them proud to show they aren't scared. And police will be on the lookout to make sure everyone feels safe.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro

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