San Francisco stiffens security for Pride weekend

People attending this weekend’s San Francisco Pride celebrations can expect to see an increased police presence and new security screening procedures following a deadly mass shooting in a gay nightclub earlier this month in Orlando, Florida, city officials and event organizers announced Monday.

Mayor Ed Lee said city officials and other agencies met this morning to review security and emergency plans for this weekend’s Pride celebrations, which are expected to draw as many as 1 million people.

Lee said:

“It appears that we will have even more people that will come to our Pride celebration throughout the weekend, and that is a good, good thing. …¬†We want to have a safe event for everyone in The City.”

San Francisco police will have uniformed and plainclothes officers out in force both at the Pride Parade and Civic Center celebration this weekend and also at nightclubs and major parties around The City, Deputy Chief Mike Redmond said:

“I believe moving forward we have a good plan in place to have a safe, enjoyable weekend for everyone.”

George Ridgely, executive director of the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Committee, said that for the first time, there will be security screening this year at the Civic Center celebration.

No bags larger than 18 by 18 inches will be allowed. Those attending should try not to bring bags and be prepared for long lines to get in, Ridgely said:

“We ask that people plan accordingly and please be patient if there is a wait to get in.”

Ridgely said the committee was going into the week with a “heavy heart” following the June 12 shooting in Orlando that killed 49 people, but looked forward to “bringing everyone together in recognition not only of what we have achieved but also of what we have yet to accomplish.”

After the shooting, Supervisor Scott Wiener organized a meeting between police and nightclub owners, who he said are “a little freaked out right now,” to make sure they had the information and resources they needed for security.

Wiener said:

“I feel good about going into the weekend, we’re going to have a terrific Pride.”

Anyone attending Pride events is being asked to stay vigilant and report anything suspicious to police or to Pride organizers and volunteers.

Residents are also being encouraged to sign up for emergency text alerts by texting the words AlertSF to 888777.