MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Events honoring Dr. King’s legacy and sacrifices start early next week and the city is preparing for an influx of the thousands of people.
Mayor Jim Strickland says the city itself has been planning for at least a year about the event.
“There’s been a lot of coordination and we appreciate that. I think it’s going to be a very significant week commemorating the life of Dr. King. We’ll be celebrating his message, be challenged by his message and we will be celebrating the sanitation workers from 1968,” Mayor Strickland said.
All the commemorating and celebrating draws big crowds.
Memphis Police said they expect 50,000 to 75,000 extra people and they said they are ready. Officers have been meeting since January 1, once a week to go over plans.
Memphis Police tell us as far as crowds size go, It will be similar to a big game at the Liberty Bowl or Southern Heritage Classic.
“It’s just going to go on for a long period of time. It will be at that same place for three, four or five days in a row. It’s all congested to one particular area, mostly the downtown area,” Colonel Samuel Hines said.
MPD won’t go into detail into how many extra officers will be on hand , but expect an increase in security.
Officers will work in layers of security from April 2 to April 7.
There will be officers in uniform and undercover, FBI, state and county officials helping too.
“There’s nine sites we’ve identified during this historic time. Each one of those sites will have a unique security plan. At large scale events like this, we use a national model,” Lieutenant Colonel Keith Watson said.
As far as random searches, “It depends on what venue you’re at and what number you are in line,” Colonel Hines said.
For those who live and work around some of the spots that will be hosting events throughout the week, like the Civil Rights Museum, “We’ll have those soft closures to allow those people to come and go to their home and to patronize those businesses as much as possible,” explained Watson.
Some of the other big event reminders from Memphis Police are if you park don’t leave items in your vehicle in plain sight, try bring your things in a clear bag, also parking will be limited so try to use public transportation as much as possible.
There will be buses running to the various sites.