NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Metro Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson announced Monday afternoon that police will be “highly visible” at a Nashville Pride Festival scheduled for later this month.
The announcement comes just one day after a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Forty-nine people were killed making it the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
“Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando shocked all of us and has understandably caused concern among those planning to attend this year’s Nashville Pride Festival,” Chief Anderson said. “This is just a reminder that it could happen anywhere at any time.”
In addition to a heavy police presence, a private company contracted by organizer of the festival will also be providing security.
Police are also reaching out to local gay and lesbian bars and other business in an effort to establish lines of communication and request they report any suspicious activity.
News 2 spoke with Darek Tanner, the owner of Canvas, a gay bar on Church Street, who said his goal is to keep customers safe without resorting to extremes.
“We don’t want to make this seem like a police state, but there is that fine line because people do want to feel like they are safe,” he explained.
The Nashville Pride Festival will be held next weekend, June 24 and 25, at Public Square Park. As many as 20,000 people are expected to attend.
Police said they are also revisiting safety plans for other big, public events planned in downtown Nashville this summer such as the annual Fourth of July celebration.