COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — It’s been three years since the last Red, White and BOOM! and with hundreds of thousands of people expected to gather downtown, the Columbus Division of Police says they will be out enforcing several safety measures.
“We want everybody to come down and have a great time, and feel safe while they’re here,” said Sgt. Joe Albert, public information officer with the Columbus Division of Police.
Over the years, Red, White and BOOM! has become the largest single-day event in the city of Columbus, drawing in crowds of around half a million people to the downtown area.
Which is also leading to an increased police presence.
“This is meant to be a family friendly event, we’ll have plenty of our personnel there for your security, we ask you to leave all firearms of any sort at home,” said Sgt. Albert.
Sgt. Albert says while firearms are legal to carry in the state, he strongly advises people not bring them.
Items that are strictly prohibited, include fireworks, portable grills, pools, generators, and alcohol.
However, he says coolers are allowed, but must be supervised.
“Due to security concerns, any unattended coolers may be confiscated by us, if we are unable to get ahold of you,” said Sgt. Albert.
As for traffic, Sgt. Albert advises people avoid traveling downtown Friday afternoon, because several roads and bridges start closing around 5:30.
Meanwhile, for parents with small children, he says they’ve placed five missing children’s booths around the area, and encourages parents to talk to their kids about approaching an officer.
“We need to be able to have kids feel safe to come to us, and especially if they’re going to be scared, they don’t know where their parents are, we need them to feel comfortable to come up to a police officer and ask for help,” said Sgt. Albert.
Police are also advising drivers to not pull over on the freeway to watch the fireworks.
Ohio State Highway Patrol will be watching and ticketing people for this behavior.