Police planning extra officers for St. Pete Pride event, requesting additional resources

Posted at 4:59 PM, Jun 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-13 18:18:25-04

In less than two weeks, Pride weekend 2016 will take over downtown St. Petersburg and police are starting the planning process a week earlier than usual. 

The St. Petersburg Police Department is asking other police department and federal authorities for resources for Pride weekend. 

"We already have a plan in place. This is not our first large public event," said Yolanda Fernandez, St. Petersburg Police Department. 

"However in light of what happened to our neighbors in Orlando, it makes us look at things a little bit differently and that's why we're going to be reaching out to some of those partners," she said. 

The celebration is the largest pride celebration for the LGBT community in Florida.

Along with a 5K race, organizers have planned a pride festival, parade and concert for the weekend. 

One company planning to be apart of the parade, Tranz Media Group LLC, plans to have their own armed security guards on the float with them. 

"The world that we're living in is that we now have to go through gay pride and actually have armed security guards who are licensed to carry guns to make sure safety is in place," Alex Borders said. 

Borders said part of their decision was because children will be present on their float. 

More than 4,500 people are expected to march in the parade.

"We're asking the public, everyone can do their part, if they see something suspicious, something that doesn't seem right, say something," said Fernandez, "that gives us the opportunity to do something."

Bag checks and metal detectors are not an option because this is an open event on the streets of downtown St. Pete. 

Pride organizers will meet with police on Thursday. 

"It's very easy to just sit at home and be afraid. That's the easy thing, but unfortunately when we do that, we let them win," said Eric Skains, Pride executive director.