Various law enforcement agencies are doing everything they can to make sure St. Petersburg’s Pride Parade attendees are safe Saturday.
Expect Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Tampa and Clearwater police departments, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to be at the event in full force.
“You name it, they’re going be a part of this, and we’re going make sure this is a safe event,” St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway said.
Just because law enforcement officers are there doesn’t mean they’ll all be visible: some officers are going under cover to ensure citizens are safe. Authorities will also monitor the event through security cameras — some hidden, some in plain sight.
St. Petersburg’s Pride Parade comes almost two weeks after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. According to people in the LGBT community, the tragedy could double attendance compared with last year.
“Pride grew out of a reaction to the violence inflicted by authorities on us,” said Nadine Smith of Equality Florida. “We aren’t going to make ourselves invisible.”
Michael Ward, a St. Petersburg resident, echoed Smith’s sentiments.
“We just have to move on with our life and keep going and enjoy," Ward said. "That’s one of the reasons why we call it Pride.”