Message from the Chief Of Police

2022 Stonewall Parade and Street Festival Safety

To Our Island City Community,

Island City Pride Week 2022 is here! As we navigate through this week and into Saturday’s Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival, our police department thanks you for allowing us to be part of your community. Additionally, we thank you for being part of our police department as we know it takes a collective effort to accomplish our public safety missions.

Since joining our police department in 1996, I bear witness to a community that has always had the motivation to become better, has always persevered when faced with adversity, and has always had the love and compassion to be there for each other. It has been fifty-three years since the riots at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, a critical moment in time that would shape the future for the LGBTQ+ community and the continued advocacy for equality.  Although much has been achieved on this front, sadly, it remains crystal clear that we are far from a world that treats everyone equally, and so much more still needs to be accomplished.  Our police department will continue to lobby for and support efforts to achieve equal rights for all so our Island City Community, and our greater LGBTQ+ community, can enjoy lifestyles absent of hate and discrimination.   

Over the past 10 days, two pride events required law enforcement to intervene to address threats. First, a 17-year-old from Canada was arrested after he issued a threat toward a Pride event in West Palm Beach. Second, this past Saturday law enforcement intercepted and arrested a group of individuals at a Pride event in Idaho whose intent was to cause harm.  

We want you to know that your police department has been planning for and improving our operations since 1999. Since hosting the City’s first Stonewall Festival 23 years ago, our agency has conducted a post-event assessment of our public safety operations after every Stonewall Festival. These post-event assessments are an industry standard practice to ensure future events are met with the appropriate types and levels of public safety resources necessary to support a well-run, and safe, event. These assessments are conducted in collaboration with our local, county, state and federal law enforcement partners who work with and support us at our events. Additionally, we have continuously compared, and aligned ourselves, with industry standard best practices for providing security for all special events in our city. We have been focused on this year’s event planning for over five months, and our focus will remain steadfast until this year’s event concludes. Being part of each year’s planning and having reviewed the elements of our operational plan, I am confident our police department and law enforcement partners are prepared, and ready to serve you, this coming Saturday. 

With over 90 Pride events throughout the United States in the month of June, I am confident I will be attending the best one, here with you, in our Island City. Our police department along with our partner agencies stand ready to serve you this Saturday, and we encourage everyone to come out and have an unforgettable experience. Remembering our partnership, please ensure to report anything that does not seem right to you via our “See Something – Say Something” motto. Also, follow us on Twitter at @wmpd411 to stay up to date with public safety updates at the event. Policing is a partnership, and the WMPD is proud to be there by your side for this much anticipated Stonewall Pride Parade and Festival.

Sincerely,


Gary Blocker
Chief of Police
     


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