LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – The 40th annual Riverfest is drawing a crowd to the River Market and everyone wants a night that's as safe as it is fun.
There's a lot to the security operation that people can see, and a lot they can't. The Little Rock Police Department is doing some new things, while relying on tried-and-true methods to keep everyone safe.
"It's just a good, local, fun event that brings together some of the best things Little Rock has to offer,” said Riverfest attendee Charlie Porter.
And to keep Riverfest that way, 160 Little Rock police officers are in the crowd. LRPD said most of the problems they deal with are alcohol related. But despite the large uniformed presence, the department still follows the rule of "See something, say something."
"There will be hundreds of thousands of citizens, or residents, in attendance. We need them to help us by identifying the problem areas,” said Lt. Steve McClanahan with the Little Rock Police Department.
Little Rock police working to continue keeping everyone safe at Riverfest
LRPD is trying something new this year, which it learned from Dallas Police. The public affairs division will be at the festival all day long, providing running updates on the department's Twitter and Facebook pages.
"If there's missing children, if there's fights, if there's accidents, if there's traffic delays. Even what's just going on, feel-good stuff: 'here's what's happening here at Riverfest, come on out and join us,” Lt. McClanahan said.
THV11 and the Morgan Nick Foundation are handing out child ID bands again. Parents write their phone number on them, and if a child gets lost, they can meet at an info station and easily be reunited.
Porter has brought his daughter to Riverfest every year since she was two years old.
"No worries about security. She's pretty good at sticking close by, so, no. It's really been pretty easy, so I'm not worried about it,” he said.
LRPD said it heard from a couple people who were concerned, in the wake of the Manchester concert attack, but there are no credible threats here. Charlie and his daughter Reese are among the tens of thousands focused more on the songs more than the security.
"It has a lot of treats and it's super fun,” Reese said.
While there are lots of police officers inside the festival grounds, there are also a lot outside the gate, to make sure everyone gets back to their car and on their way home safely.