LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — In Little Rock, a new way of protecting the public safety has captured the attention from people across the country who are visiting.
If you’re around downtown Little Rock this week, you may see new orange barricades surrounding the State House Convention Center.
But, they aren’t ordinary barricades. They are designed to specifically protect large crowds of people from vehicle intrusions.
"It just makes me feel safe coming into Little Rock knowing they took these precautions,” said Rebekah Sullivan from Cleveland Ohio.
The 11-year-old is in town to compete in the ATA Martial Arts World Championship hosted at the convention center.
But, her travel doesn’t come without a bit of worry.
"Everyone comes in from different parts of the world,” she said. “It’s huge. There's a bunch of people in one spot.”
Her wondering mind couldn’t help but notice the orange barricades surrounding the event, which is one vulnerable to some type of threat, according to police.
"Devastating events that happen to a community, vehicles are now used as weapons,” said Eric Barnes, with Little Rock Police Department. "We want to continue to follow the best practices and protect our citizens."
With the capitol city often hosting large events, LRPD secured a grant from the Homeland Security to purchase the barricades made of steel, which has brought peace of mind to visitors.
"Avoiding an attack is much better than something like that actually happening,” said Mateo Carreno, visiting from Miami. “We often use resources for so many things that aren’t necessary. So to come here and see safety a priority, that’s nice.”
Police say not to test the barricades, though.
“We don’t want people to try to go around these,” said Barnes. “They are designed to stop a vehicle, so we don’t want anyone to damage their’s trying to pass one of them.”
The department has seven barricades. They are working to get more to spread throughout the city to accommodate more events.