COLUMBUS (WCMH) – About 500,000 are expected to come to Columbus this weekend for Pride.
Police Chief Kim Jacobs said they plan on having plenty of plain clothes, as well as uniformed officers. You will also see police on bicycles and horses.
“This is not a one-day operation for us,” she said. “There’s a lot of planning that goes into this because we believe we have the third largest Pride parade in the country.”
Last night, NBC4 told you that police are investigating a threat made by a man through an online dating app. On Tinder, the suspect said he was going to kill a trans woman. Investigators are taking the threat seriously.
“Anything that we get we try to track down. You might’ve seen a Homeland Security alert the other day that’s being followed up on somebody that might’ve been threatened, some trans people,” said Chief Jacobs. ”Those are the kinds of things we follow up on as quickly as we can with information as we get. Anybody that does have that kind of information, we encourage them to share it with us.”
There’s a new texting alert system police will be able to use this year. Chief Jacobs said text “Pride 2018” to the number “888777” to opt-in. It’s a one-way messaging system
“Any safety-related information or information that you need to know about the parade on Saturday will be sent out,” she said.
If you see anything suspicious, you’re encouraged to call 911. Make sure to be aware of your surroundings and travel in pairs or groups of people.
“If you don’t feel comfortable approaching a uniformed police officer, find one of our Stonewall volunteers that will have big radio on their hip,” said Stonewall Columbus interim executive director Deb Steele.
Steele said after last year’s protest during the Pride Parade, they have been trying to communicate more with people in the community who feel marginalized.
“I believe them. I see them. I hear them and I agree with the base of their message that we need more attention for black trans women,” she said. “We need to address issues of police and how police enforce things, but at the end of the day we need these police officers to keep us safe and they have done that for long time and that’s something to be proud of.”
The Pride Festival kicks off tomorrow at Bicentennial and Genoa Park. The parade will step-off Saturday morning.