JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Ahead of the July 4 holiday weekend, representatives from all three beaches police departments are reminding the public, “if you see something say something.”
Tens of thousands of people flock to the beaches for July 4 every year. Neptune Beach Police Chief Richard Pike said the department started preparing for the holiday months ago by meeting with JSO Special Events and Homeland Security.
“We will do everything we can to make this event as safe as possible,” Chief Pike said.
Pike said 20 JSO officers will assist Neptune Beach Police on the holiday. Both uniformed and plain-clothes officers will mingle in the crowds.
Additionally, this is the second July 4 for NBPD to use a sky-lift from Naval Station Mayport. For the first time, they will also use a drone to monitor the July 4 crowds from above.
“Monitor the crowd and look for any type of suspicious activity,” Pike said.
Road closures will be in place across the beaches. For the first time, 1st Street in Neptune Beach will be closed to vehicle traffic. The barricades at the closures will be reinforced, Pike said.
“Not only will he have marked police cars at the barricade areas, we’ll also use the large water barricades,” he said.
“It’s wild. It’s a lot of fun, there’s a lot of people [that] come out,” longtime beach resident Leonard Reed told First Coast News. For Reed, a Vietnam veteran, security is top of mind.
“I see lots of opportunities for people that are intent on hurting a lot of people,” Reed said.
Jacksonville Beach Police could not reveal specific details of their security plan. However, they said there will be increased police presence at strategic times during the holiday and the weekend.
Atlantic Beach will also have additional officers in the Beaches Town Center area.