Mayor Kasim Reed announced a new public safety plan for Atlanta's Peachtree Road Race on Monday. The July 4 event draws thousands, and security will be tight in the wake of the Boston bombings.
After a meeting with city leaders and the executive director of the Atlanta Track Club, Reed said they have been planning for the events for months, and it will be safe.
"Here in Atlanta, we have an opportunity to make the 2013 Road Race a race for freedom and solidarity," said Tracey Russell of the Atlanta Road Race.
It'll be a coordinated effort to be sure all parties involved in planning for this huge event will be on the same page. Securing the road race is not an easy task. It's a 6.2 mile stretch from Lenox to Piedmont Park with more than 60,000 people expected to participate.
"Today my message is simple, the Peachtree Road Race will be run in Atlanta on July 4th. We will not allow the acts of two sick murderers to alter our way of life or our behavior. There will be a significant difference between the efforts last year and this year. We just can't say what those differences are because that would be used by folks who may not mean us well," said Reed.
Reed says some of the security details are still being decided, such as whether backpacks will be allowed and how trash cans will be handled.
Atlanta Police Chief George Turner didn't want to share particulars, but he said security will be enhanced and involve both state and federal agencies.
Turner said to expect more police presence, K-9 units and surveillance cameras.
Reed said that most of the road race route is already covered with cameras. The Video Integration Center has grown from 50 cameras last year to 1,300, but the mayor says more are needed.
"We are looking to upgrade in the next 60 days. I am going to reach out to the corporate community because it may be costly," Reed said.
The mayor says if everything goes as planned, the new cameras will be in place before the starting gun is fired.
Reed says the extra security will also cover other Fourth of July Events, such as the festivities at Centennial Olympic Park , the Atlanta Braves game and the fireworks at Lenox Square.
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