What to know if you’re going to see fireworks on the Memphis riverfront

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tonight's fireworks are set to kick off around 9:15, but if you’re planning to go downtown —or maybe you were thinking of avoiding Downtown — there are some safety and security messages from police you should know.

Memphis Police say they're expecting anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 people to visit downtown on the Fourth of July, including Maj. Lamont Robinson and his family.

"I’m just proud to be able to do what I do,” the Marine Corps member said.

Independence Day takes on extra meaning for him, as he gets to celebrate the holiday with his wife, mom and brother in Memphis.

"I have the fortune of being stationed in New Orleans which is a lot closer than where I’m normally stationed relative to any members of my family," he said.

City officials say they spend months planning for the Fourth of July, just as they do for Memphis in May and New Year's Eve.

"We have a big presence of officers and bring in special units including tactical and harbor patrol,” said Col. Gloria Bullock, who commands MPD’s Downtown precinct.

Bullock said people should not bring their own fireworks to Tom Lee Park and if officers see people using them, they will take action. She says they also coordinate with the Department of Homeland Security.

"We’re highly vigilant," she said. "We’ve got cameras everywhere downtown. We use those and monitor constantly.”

But she knows they can’t keep an eye on everything, so she’s reminding people to take valuables with them. Don’t leave anything out in your car, be aware of your environment and don’t be distracted by your phone.

Police know that’s what it takes to keep people like Major Robinson and his family safe in return for all he does to keep Americans safe around the world.

"We all celebrate, party hard. At the same time, remember each of us takes a part in making America something to be proud of,” he said.

He says that’s what he wants everyone to think about as they watch fireworks tonight.

Police said they will not using metal detection wangs on people as they enter the park because they say they don’t have enough officers to do that.

Also if you plan to head downtown make sure you plan extra time for traffic and parking. Officers say there will be some street closures.


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