St. Pete Pride evaluates security ahead of celebration

- As thousands pour into St. Petersburg for the annual Pride celebration in two weeks, organizers are diggin in to security measures to keep everyone safe.

As Eric Skains listened and watched for information on the Club Pulse shooting, he said he was torn to pieces.

"It was a ball of emotions. It was anger. There was sadness. It was confusion. All this wrapped up into one," he told FOX 13 News.

As executive director of St.Pete Pride, his job takes on more urgency with the main event just two weeks away.

"It is put into the forefront and it's right here at our backdoor," he said.

The St. Pete Pride parade is already one of the largest Pride events in the South. Skains believes it has the potential for being even larger this year.

"We are going to come out, celebrate all the achievements that have been made, commemorate all those who have literally lost their lives in this movement, or for just being who they are and coming together," he said.

Security has always been provided for thousands who gather in St. Petersburg for the weekend celebration. But, the Orlando nightclub shooting has festival organizers and police ramping up security.

The St. Petersburg Police Department is working with state, local and federal law enforcement agencies to plan for extra security.

"We are just making sure everything has been looked at. Everything has been checked and we have all the resources we can get and in place," said Rick Shaw with St.Petersburg police.

Some of the security measures will be in plain view. Some of them won't.

"We are going to have a couple of elevated platforms with cameras placed around the parade route. There will be a lot of things, behind the scenes, that people won't see and we won't divulge," said Shaw.

Organizers want to make sure anyone who wants to attend will feel safe.

"We can't let one person deter us from coming together as one, otherwise that person wins," said Skains.

For more information on the event, visit www.St.PetePride.com.

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