Security Issues Surface Hours Before Made In America Festival
By Oren Liebermann
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – In the first-of-its-kind Made in America Music Festival up to 50,000 people packed the Ben Franklin Parkway. But over the last 24 hours, police have scaled back the number of officers.
“This is the first time we’ve had an outdoor concert along the Parkway where we’ve had controlled admittance,” Commissioner Charles Ramsey pointed out.
Commissioner Ramsey said it is simply a matter of having the right number of police working the event – not too few and not too many.
“Why would we have 500 extra police when we don’t need 500 extra police, especially on a weekend?” said Commissioner Ramsey.
A spokesman for the Mayor’s Office said after months of planning with security experts, the city finalized the security plan on Friday. But police say it could still change.
“There’s police officers, probably as we speak now, being told not to come in tomorrow for this event,” said John McGrody, Vice President of FOP Lodge #5.
Police will not release the number of officers here for public safety reasons, but the Fraternal Order of Police estimates they were planning on having between 500 and 700 police. McGrody says the department cut between 100 and 200 officers since Friday, scaling back on safety.
“We’ve had a dangerous summer so far in Philly and this is an unknown and very unique event,” McGrody said.
A few hours into the festival, police said the biggest problems they have had are a few people getting too much sun or too much booze. They said they have not had any major safety concerns.
PHOTOS: Made In America Festival
Police said they will keep an eye on Festival after-parties to make sure those do not get out of control.
The FOP said they are considering filing a grievance against the city for cancelling officer hours so close to the concert.