In the tragic aftermath of the Orlando murders, San Diego Pride officials have many operations in place to keep everyone safe.
In the aftermath of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history that took the lives of 50 people in Orlando Florida on Sunday morning at the LGBT nightclub Pulse, some San Diegans are concerned with the security for the San Diego Pride event happening in a little over a month.
San Diego Gay and Lesbian News reached out to organizers to see what is in place to keep the city’s LGBT event safe.
We are told that that Pride developers have hired Contemporary Services Corporation (CSC) to helm security. The company’s website states that they are the “Leader in Crowd Management.”
Stephen Whitburn, Executive Director of San Diego Pride says that not only will CSC be present to help with safety, but, “As always, San Diego Pride is going to work closely with the police department to ensure that the rally and that the parade are safe for everyone.” He adds, “We’ll be discussing that with them in the coming weeks as we always do.”
The San Diego Police Department told SDGLN that they send out their deepest sympathies to the people affected by the Florida shooting, and they are making it their priority to keep San Diego safe.
“Although there are no known threats here in San Diego,” said Sergeant Lisa McKean of San Diego Police Dept. Media Services, “we are working closely with all our Federal, State, and local law enforcement partners to ensure we remain safe as a region. As a precautionary measure and until further information is known, we have increased our security posture in the city.”
As far as San Diego Pride, Sergeant McKean says they are going to step up their presence in situations where there are large crowds.
“We will focus particularly in mass gathering locations,” she said. “We want all San Diegans and their guests to feel safe. This is yet another reminder for us all to remain vigilant and to stand together in protecting our community. We ask if you see, hear, or know something, to please say something. Working together as a community, we will protect our safety and our freedom."
Cavin Knight, one of the organizers for the Unite! Music Festival says that safety has always been their highest priority and that as a rule of thumb, there is usually one guard per 100 patrons, but in situations such as Pride, that number gets a slight boost.
“For special events or non-routine club operations, etc., you should always have more security,” Cavin said. “Depending on the risk factor, one security guard to every fifty to seventy-five patrons is a rule of thumb.”
CSC security services pride themselves as being “’Designated’ as Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technology (QATT) by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act (SAFETY Act) of 2002. CSC’s QATT includes physical security, access control, and crowd management, as well as quality assurance procedures comprised of vetting and training employees; periodic internal, external and Red Team assessments of CSC’s effectiveness; and an annual review process.”
For those people who are fearful of attending San Diego Pride next month, Whitburn says that even in the midst of tragedies such as the one in Orlando, LGBT people and their allies need to come together in events such as gay pride to, "stand in solidarity with the people who lost their lives or wounded in Orlando and make statement that we are going to stand together in support of the LGBTQ community and against this kind of violence.”
Whitburn says that every year as much as 100,000 people attend San Diego Pride, and this year may see an increase in those numbers due to the mass murder in Florida.
Unite! organizer Knight also expresses that people should find strength in their sorrow, and not be swayed by fear.
“A strong person is not the one who doesn't cry,” he said. “A strong person is the one who cries and sheds tears for a moment, then gets up and fights again.”
It has come to light that the gunman in the Orlando mass shooting was a licensed security guard with a firearm license. He allegedly worked for a multi-national security services company, and was on a terrorism watchlist.
SDGLN reached out to Contemporary Services Corporation to see what process they have in place for background checks and employment guidelines, they have not yet responded as of this writing.