KVUE — After the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history at an outdoor country concert in Las Vegas, Austin police plan to expand the security presence for ACL Festival, scheduled to begin Friday, October 6.
At a press conference, Interim Police Chief Brian Manley said the tragedy in Nevada made them consider new threats and accept help from agencies like the Department of Public Safety.
"We can't come in on the day after an event like we just saw happen in Las Vegas and not reconsider our plans and make sure that we are comfortable — that we have addressed everything possible," Manley said.
Mayor Steve Adler said the event in Las Vegas is what Austin police officers have been training for.
"I think when you see an event that happens like the one in Las Vegas ... it reaffirms all the work that you do, all the planning that's been done, all the preparation that we have been through. It reminds you that what we have already done is the right thing to be doing,” said Adler. "I'm really confident in the public safety professionals that we have working on our big events. A lot of training, a lot of drilling, a lot of preparation, I think everybody is ready to go, and I'm really confident."
Manley added that along with DPS, Austin police have reached out to the federal government, with hopes of getting help from them, too.
"We will have plenty of officers [at ACL] that will be visible, and we'll also have plenty that will not be visible: strategically placed that will only come out if necessary to address any specific incidents," Manley said.
Through data from a regional intelligence center, Manley said, "no threats have been made against ACL Fest on social media" as of Monday, October 2.
Manley noted that while the Austin Police Department's security plan will be strengthened this year, it's also important for people to be accountable for their own personal safety. For instance, he said attendees should definitely pay attention to their surroundings and know an escape route in the event of an emergency.
"As you move about the event, pay attention to where the exits are," Manley affirmed.
"Come out to ACL as you planned. This is a yearly event that we have successfully managed here in Austin, and it has been conducted with safety. It is important to continue to do those things that we love," he said.
In fact, Manley said it could be one of the safest parts of the city during the next two weekends.
"There will be a large number of officers in a very concentrated area, at this festival, actually from that perspective it's going to be the safest part of the city to be in, during both weekends, just because of the sheer number of officers that will be present," said Manley.
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