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'I think that it will be safe': Security plans in place for weekend events in Louisville

There are several events planned that are sure to bring thousands to Louisville's Waterfront Park.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — There might be more of a police presence in Louisville this June 18 and 19.

There are several events planned that are sure to bring thousands to the waterfront, including the Pride Parade and Festival, the Juneteenth Celebration and the FunkFest.

However, security is still top of mind after Saturday's shooting near the Big Four Bridge.

Louisville Police Chief Erika Shields said on Monday it started because of an argument over a scooter that a 9-year-old was riding. She said the fight escalated and two teens pulled out a gun, hit five other teens and grazed the 9-year-old. Shields said one of the victims is in critical condition.

Waterfront Corporation Executive Director Deborah Bilitski said it's a sad situation, but said it isn't reflective of the safety of Waterfront Park.

She also said the waterfront has a safety plan for each of the three events, all approved by LMPD.

"It's a very family-friendly place to be and we really want to encourage families to come down and feel comfortable and be here,” Bilitski said.

RELATED: 'I don't even want to bring my daughter to the place that I work': Vendors near waterfront react to weekend shooting

WHAS11 spoke to organizers of this weekends’ events on Tuesday about their plans; one said they plan to beef up security.

Organizers said they hope this weekend will be peaceful and filled with families safely celebrating, but even though they're optimistic, there are measures in place to keep everyone safe.

Wanda Mitchell-Smith, metro council liaison for Mayor Greg Fischer, said she's excited for the continuation of the many Juneteenth celebrations this weekend.

"What we're thinking about and what we're praying for is, of course, public safety being the number one issue and I think that it will be safe," she said.

Mitchell-Smith said they're working closely with LMPD, and she hopes people can come together and celebrate the rich history behind Juneteenth as a community, hopefully making it bigger each year.

“This is just the beginning," she said. “I just know years to come, that it is going to grow to that element of the Kentucky Derby, so we will have the Derby in May and Juneteenth in June.”

Rodney Coffman, president of the Kentuckiana Pride Foundation, hopes the Pride fest and parade will be safe as well. He said the crowd is expected to be the largest in the Pride Parade's history with more than 10,000 people.

Coffman said they are beefing up security.

RELATED: PHOTOS: 2022 Indiana Pride Parade sights and celebrations

"We're going to do the best we can to keep everybody safe because I want everyone to come back next year for a bigger and better festival,” he said.

Coffman said the festival will have private security and will work closely with LMPD.

While both organizers said they hope this weekend will be filled with fun, they also hope to spread love to the youngest in society, so that they won't be quick to solve their problems with violence.

"If you know a teenager, let them know they're loved and that they're resources for them,” Coffman said.

"We love you and we want you to grow beyond where you are right now,” Mitchell-Smith said.

WHAS11 also spoke to Metro Council President David James; he said he's confident the negotiation with the Fraternal Order of Police will be worked out by the end of July, which would allow retired LMPD officers to come back to work.

James said this will help with the severe shortage of officers in Louisville.

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