The Atlanta Police Department, in partnership with a host of local, state and government agencies, will have a comprehensive security plan in place for Fourth of July celebrations in the City of Atlanta next week.

“It’s important that we bring this extra security and peace of mind to the hundreds of thousands of holiday revelers coming into the city for these iconic events,” Police Chief George Turner said. “Following the tragic events at the Boston Marathon, it is critical and prudent for us to have a plan in place in the unlikely event of a crisis.”

The plans will include a stepped-up law enforcement presence on the morning of the AJC Peachtree Road Race, and evening firework shows at Centennial Olympic Park, Turner Field and Lenox Square; a 24-hour Joint Operation Center at Atlanta Public Safety Headquarters, new video cameras placed along the race route and law enforcement assistance from the Georgia State Patrol, FBI, GBI, MARTA Police, Fulton County Sheriff’s Office and Georgia Army National Guard.

The Atlanta Track Club has been meeting over several months with Atlanta Fire Rescue, the Atlanta Fulton County Emergency Management Agency, the Atlanta Police Department, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, Grady EMS, Midtown Blue, and the city of Atlanta departments of Watershed Management, Public Works and Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs. As part of these preparations, these agencies participated in a scenario-based exercise to address potential crises response.

While these planning meetings have been routine in years past, extra measures have been taken in light of the bombings at the Boston Marathon in April. All of these agencies will have representatives on hand in the Joint Operations Center, where live feeds from the APD’s Operation Shield Video Integration Center will be visible.

The APD and Atlanta Track Club are asking that visitors and spectators to the AJC Peachtree Road Race and other Fourth of July events not bring backpacks to these events. Piedmont Park will have controlled access following the end of the road race where people and the items they carry will be subject to search. Therefore, we urge event-goers to pack as lightly as possible.

Further, attendees of all Fourth of July events are urged to call 9-1-1 or approach a police officer if they see any suspicious activity or a suspicious package left unattended. The APD and its partner agencies are prepared to respond to anything suspicious.

The Video Integration Center has more than 1,400 cameras with a number of newly-installed cameras along the race route so that officers can keep an eye on the scene. Our Mounted Patrol along with undercover officers will also be present to assist with crowd control. APD will have more than 400 police officers and supervisors on hand for the Peachtree Road Race. Officers will work 12 hour shifts, July 3rd through 5th with off-days cancelled. We are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of the runners and spectators.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.