GRPD increases patrols for 4th of July

Grand Rapids police officers patrol at Rosa Parks Circle downtown. (July 4, 2015)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A little music, a whole lot of red, white and blue, and of course fireworks.

Tens of thousands of people gathered in downtown Grand Rapids to celebrate the Fourth of July on Saturday.

People gather at Ah-Nab-Awen Park in downtown Grand Rapids before the Fourth of July fireworks.
(People gather at Ah-Nab-Awen Park downtown before the Fourth of July fireworks.)

With such a big party came a big police presence. The Grand Rapids Police Department and other local agencies had all hands on deck for the weekend’s festivities.

>>Photos: 4th of July fireworks in West Michigan

United States leaders asked for tightened security in our country’s major cities, saying this weekend’s large gatherings could be targets for terrorists.

Officers in Grand Rapids say everyone needs to be cognizant of a potential threat.

“Any venue that is going to have a large number of people, I think might become something of a target for radicals that want to harm people,” GRPD Officer Tony Leonard said as he patrolled downtown Grand Rapids on Saturday afternoon.

Police say though it may sound cliche, when it comes to odd or suspicious behavior, if you see something, you should say something.

24 Hour News 8 asked police what people should be looking out for.

“Unattended packages, things that don’t look right, people wearing far too much clothing for the weather,” Leonard listed.

Officers also asked that if you plan on drinking, lighting off fireworks or both this weekend, please be smart and use common sense.

“Back when I was growing up, for fireworks, my dad would always designate somebody being the sober ‘fireworks handler’ guy. And that way you don’t have the guy who’s had far too many whiskey sours as the one detonating the huge mortars or something like that,” Leonard said.

He said some safety precautions allow everyone to freely enjoy the freedoms we celebrate on the Fourth of July.

“What we are here for is to make sure everyone has a good time, that everyone is safe, and that everyone enjoys downtown Grand Rapids, because it’s a great place to be,” Leonard said.

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