Law enforcement agencies on both sides of river ready for Thunder 2016
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – With the forecast and river levels looking ideal for the first time in a long time this Thunder Over Louisville, officials are expecting big crowds.
They are anticipating more than 500,000 people will come out on both sides of the river on Saturday to catch the big show. That's why more than 1,200 law enforcement officers and first responders will be around to make sure all goes well.
Whether you plan to catch Thunder in the Bluegrass, on the sunny side or on the Ohio, safety is the top priority for all those working hard behind the scenes.
"Folks come to have a good time and we don't want to be policing everybody and be "the bad guys" sometimes, we just want to make sure everybody has a fun time," said Major Kelly Jones, The Louisville Police Department Commander of Special Operations.
So, first a few do's and don'ts.
The FAA has established a no-fly zone, so leave your drones at home, violators will be escorted out and face serious fines.
"People want to bring down those neat and nifty toys, but they really are a safety hazard," Kentucky Derby Festival's Matt Gibson said.
In public areas on both sides of the river, no tents, bikes or skateboards are allowed. Don't bring glass bottles, alcohol or grills and it's best to leave pets at home.
You can bring food and non-alcoholic drinks into public areas and blankets and lawn chairs are encouraged.
LMPD says to pay attention to where you park and plan your route home ahead of time.
"If you want to go west park in the western route and utilize western streets, like Main Street or Jefferson or Broadway," said Lt. Joe Seelye, commander of the LMPD traffic unit. "If you want to go east, use River Road, Market Street and Liberty. If you want to go south, Preston, First, Third, 9th Street are all good avenues for that."
Crowds can sometimes lead to chaos. A video circulated on social media last weekend that shows teen girls getting into a fight near the Big Four Bridge. This is exactly what police want to avoid, so they'll be spread out and ready to move at a moment's notice.
"If we see any potential for a problem, we are going to try to intervene immediately," Jones said.
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