CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Fourth of July shooting at a parade in Highland Park, Ill., created heightened security at holiday events around the country and in South Florida.
More than 40,000 people were expected to descend on the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables for the city’s July 4th fireworks extravaganza and with that came an added layer of security.
“We are aware of what happened in the tragedy in Illinois . . the one good thing about South Florida is all the police departments work together . . . we are identifying any kind of possible threats. As of right now, we do not have any threats,” said Chief Edward Hudak of the Coral Gables Police Department.
Even before the tragedy in Illinois, Coral Gables police introduced a new drone program that could help them respond to an emergency faster.
“We can basically put eyes and ears on anything in the city of Coral Gables within two to three minutes and give that information to officers on the street before they even get there,” Hudak said.
The fireworks celebration will serve as a test run.
Two drones will feature spotlights, infrared cameras and speakers to assist officers heading to the scene. The drones will be used for the first time for Fourth of July festivities to monitor crowds, traffic and any emergencies that may arise.
Officers will be stationed in and around the Biltmore.