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Fort Worth police step up security for Main St. festival

04/16/2013 11:46 PM

04/17/2013 9:16 AM

FORT WORTH -- Fort Worth police are increasing their numbers of uniformed and undercover officers working in and around this week's Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival to augment security following Monday's Boston bombings, Police Chief Jeff Halstead said Tuesday.

Officials in Fort Worth were far from alone. Announcements were common Tuesday about heightened security at public places and events nationwide and around the world.

"We have more than doubled the amount of plain-clothes officers and undercover officers used in the past," Halstead said. "We have added more uniform officers including uniformed patrols in and around the event, in both cars and on foot."

More specific figures weren't available.

"We have an extensive security plan in place," Halstead said. "It'll be very successful."

Police will also use bomb-sniffing dogs, city officials said.

And the Fire Department is increasing its typical numbers of emergency medical technicians and firefighters who will be walking around Main Street, to help elevate the security presence, Halstead said.

The majority of the expense of staffing Main Street is paid for by Main Street, Halstead said.

The city works with the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to assess intelligence issues each year for Main Street, Halstead said. Police consulted with the FBI special agent in charge following the Boston attack, Halstead said.

Other security that works Main Street includes Sundance Square and XTO Energy.

Another popular art show that draws big crowds, Southlake's Art in the Square, is April 26-28 and Southlake police say they will have a strong presence at the event that draws about 50,000 visitors.

"Like other law enforcement agencies across the country, the tragic events that occurred yesterday in Boston serve as a reminder to us all to be aware of our surroundings and to report anything suspicious," James Brandon, the Southlake assistant police chief, said. "The safety and security of our citizens and visitors to Southlake is our number one priority."

The deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon reverberated on both sides of the Atlantic on Tuesday as cities from Los Angeles to London saw a surge in security.

Securing landmarks

The White House, New York's Times Square, and the preparations for former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's funeral in London all had an enhanced and intensified law enforcement presence after Monday's two blasts in Boston.

Police in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Detroit, San Diego and Las Vegas monitored landmarks, government buildings, transit hubs and sporting events. Law enforcement agencies also urged the public via Twitter and Facebook to report suspicious activity to the police.

British police were also reviewing security plans for Sunday's London Marathon -- the next major international race -- because of the bombs that killed three people and injured more than 140 in Boston.

In New York, authorities deployed critical response teams-- highly visible patrol units that move in packs with lights and sirens, -- along with more than 1,000 counterterrorism officers. High-traffic areas like the Empire State building, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, the United Nations and the World Trade Center site are receiving especially close attention.

Security will also be paramount in Dallas next week for the dedication of George W. Bush's presidential library. President Barack Obama is scheduled to be on hand for the April 25 event, along with former Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

Staff writer Dustin Dangli contributed to this report, which includes material from McClatchy Newspapers and The Associated Press.

Scott Nishimura, 817-390-7808

Twitter: @JScottNishimura

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