Valley police departments plan Fourth of July event security

Posted at 6:49 PM, Jul 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-04 22:13:42-04

Excitement for Fourth of July festivities was high even hours before gates opened to various events around the Valley.

By early afternoon, the crowds were anxiously waiting on the outside at Tempe Town Lake.

"I'm most excited about the fireworks. I've been waiting for it since last weekend,” said Cynthia Lopez of Phoenix.

And on the inside, Tempe police and first responders were busy making sure the grounds are safe for the 40,000 to 50,000 people expected to attend the July 4th Tempe Town Lake Festival.

"They (police) do a bomb sweep before they even let the vendors in. The fire department is here. They have a first aid station with air conditioning inside,” said Linda Skipwith, a vendor.

At the Tempe Police Department, Detective Lily Duran says you can expect to see a heavy presence of officers. They're also working with local and federal partners to ensure safety.

"There's a lot things that will be going on that most people will not realize,” Duran said.

Safety is top of mind for many, as just this past weekend, the FBI and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office arrested 18-year-old Mahin Khan in Tucson for conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism on government buildings in Maricopa and Pima counties.

In a news release, the FBI said there was no threat to public safety.

“There is no specific and credible threat information about possible attacks in the U.S. as we enter the July 4th holiday,” said Jill McCabe, public affairs specialist with the FBI Phoenix office. Officials also said Khan was not involved in any attacks planned in connection with the Independence Day holiday.

But local law enforcement agencies are on high alert.

"We don't have any security threats at this point, but because of the way things are in this world, we are taking every precaution that we can,” Duran said.

Police are asking the public to be their eyes and ears.

"If they see anything that they think suspicious, feel free to flag one of our officers down," Duran said.