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Weekend event organizers prioritize security after Old Market shooting

Posted at 5:28 PM, Jun 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-05 19:55:41-04

As thousands of people prepare to venture downtown this weekend for the Omaha Summer Arts Festival and the Santa Lucia Festival, organizers for both events say they're very conscious of the security concerns ahead of the festivals — and are confident in their security teams.

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer says there will be a heavier police presence downtown through the end of the College World Series. 

Off-duty OPD officers will also provide security at the Omaha Summer Arts Festival in the Old Market, which is something they have done for more than 20 years. 

"We prefer to work with uniform personnel. They're the professionals right, not to take anything away from any other security firm but they're all licensed to be in uniform and that kind of thing and it just gives us a better presence, it always has,” Elizabeth Balazs, festival manager, Summer Arts Festival.

The Santa Lucia Festival will also be in full swing at the same time at Lewis and Clark Landing and will use off-duty sheriff's deputies for security. 

"Everything pretty much stays the same. we will have three sheriff's on duty until midnight every night, and then like I said, we'll have security overnight,” says Danielle Swerczek, president of the Santa Lucia Festival.

Next weekend, the College World Series begins. MECA President Roger Dixon said in a statement that they will again wand all attendees coming to the ballpark and will enforce a clear bag policy, which is new for the 2018 CWS.

With all the security in place, event organizers say the public is no danger downtown.

"We've always had a very safe environment, never had any incidents and we intend to keep it that way and have no reason to think it wouldn't stay that way," says Swerczek.

Other than the new clear bag policy, security measures at the College World Series are expected to be 'business as usual' with off-duty Omaha police officers providing security inside the ballpark.