ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The St. Petersburg Police Department wants to make sure everyone has an enjoyable and safe experience at St. Pete Pride this year, and they're utilizing new security technology to help make it happen.
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Enigma Bar and Lounge owner Ed Gonzalez has been prepping for Florida’s largest LGBT celebration for weeks, with more than 250,000 expected this year.
“Every year just gets bigger and crazier,” he said.
As with any large event, safety is key.
This year, the St. Pete Police Department is making sure they have an eye on every corner of Pride.
“As of today, there are no threats, but we’re concerned anytime we have a large group of people,” said Chief Anthony Holloway.
The department purchased four video trailers through a grant from the Department of Homeland Security.
The cameras can zoom in on different areas, and get clear images of faces and license plates from long distances.
“We may not be able to get the officers there quick enough," Holloway said. "These cameras can get us there within seconds,” Holloway said.
Business owners like Gonzalez are already taking extra precautions.
“I also have two St. Pete police officers that I booked specifically for this weekend to be out front of the building,” he said.
For Gonzalez, the video trailers just add to the peace of mind.
“It’s likely to deter anyone from even trying anything,” he said.
This is the first time the department will use the cameras.
They’ll be able to share them with other agencies throughout the Tampa Bay Area.