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Taste of Chicago 2014 opens with visible police presence following violent weekend

While the Taste of Chicago follows a violent weekend in Chicago, officials were tight-lipped about whether the recent shootings had an impact on security.
The Taste of Chicago opened Wednesday in Grant Park. As the crowds gather to enjoy food, music and fun, efforts are underway to ensure the safety of visitors and vendors at the festival as officials also work to address violence in other parts of the city.

Find out more: Taste of Chicago 2014 Guide

As people takes bites of this year's sampling, so do some Chicago police officers. A big police presence is to be expected at an event that brings in well over a million people.

"We just make sure there is a good line of communication between the CPD, CFD, OEMC make sure we are all sharing info for a safe event," said Rich Guidice, OEMC deputy director of operations.

Besides lots of cops, the Office of Emergency Management and Communications makes sure people are being watched from above. Everywhere you turn, you will find a surveillance camera. On some poles, there are multiple cameras.

"We modified the security camera system the last couple years, everywhere year look, put up a new one," said Guidice.

While the Taste follows a violent weekend in Chicago, officials were tight-lipped about whether the recent shootings had an impact on security at the Taste. Mayor Rahm Emanuel didn't answer questions as he officially opened the event and took a quick tour.

Cheryl Carrier is visiting Chicago for the first time. The violence was on her mind, but didn't stop her from a trip to the Taste.

"I had a little bit of concerns, I figured that would be enough security here that I wouldn't have to worry," said Carrier.

Others with kids say they feel safe as long as they time their visit right.

"Our priority is to come early and leave early and not to stay too late," said Veronica Sanew.

Many Taste visitors say checking bags at the entrance makes them feel safe. It is a safety measure that began a couple years ago, but, Kim Ricks worries it is not enough.

"They didn't do a thorough check, i could have had anything under there, open top look in," said Ricks.

Related Topics:
food taste of chicago safety security chicago police department Chicago - Loop
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