Security tightened for July 4 celebrations

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As people travel and gather to celebrate Independence Day, organizers are working and strategizing to keep everyone safe. (WLS)

As people travel and gather to celebrate Independence Day, organizers are working and strategizing to keep everyone safe.

Friday morning, a coalition of law enforcement agencies, including Chicago Police, will be announcing the details of a comprehensive safety and security plan this weekend. As many as half a million people are expected here at Navy Pier alone.

For many the patriotic pageantry of Navy Pier of July 4 is not to be missed, but Pier officials are focused on more than just the fireworks.

"We will have security at all of the entrance points throughout the Pier checking bags, wanding, ensuring that our guests are safe," says Payal Patel, Navy Pier spokesperson.

Crowds this year could be bigger than ever because of the added attractions, including an ice rink and the new, state of the art Ferris wheel.

Following several recent shootings downtown and near the lake, more cops will be on the beat.

"The police are out there, and the police are determined to make this a safe weekend," says Chief Eugene Roy, Chicago Police Department.

Chicago police brass finalized their plan Thursday, not just for downtown but in the neighborhoods and at major transportation centers like O'Hare International Airport. Federal officers also promised enhanced airport security.

"We continue to encourage the public to travel, to associate, but be aware and vigilant," said U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

The world's largest airport - Atlanta - is considering extending its security perimeter outside the front door. It's unclear if O'Hare and other airports wuld follow suit, but there's already a lot you don't see.

"There are going to be undercover police officers in airports, dressed just like travelers looking for anything suspicious. Also, officers trained in behavior analysis, looking for any sort of suspicious behaviors," says Matt Olson, former U.S. counterintelligence officer.

At Navy Pier, there are two fireworks shows this weekend, on Saturday night and Monday night, the fourth. Pier officials say Chicago Police and private security will be on hand.

Related Topics:
securityjuly 4thfireworkschicago police departmentChicago - Navy PierChicago - Downtown
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