More than 100-thousand people are expected in the Marietta Square this weekend for the 20th annual Taste of Marietta, where 70 Cobb County restaurants will tempt festival goers with all kinds of treats. But in the wake of the Boston bombings last week, there have been some changes to the event, all in the name of security.
To see evidence of the enhanced security measures at Taste of Marietta, all festival goers have to do is look up. Towering 25-feet above the town square will be Skywatch. The white structure looks something like a portable control tower. It will hold police officers and cameras that together will keep a close eye out for anything unusual. Skywatch will be a big part of the security measures that have been beefed up since the Boston Marathon bombing.
“The community now has a lot of confidence in (Skywatch),” said Police Chief Dan Flynn. “It has a police officer in it and cameras and they know it’s watching out for problems.”
If anyone knows about security at big events like this, it’s Flynn. As a Miami cop, he headed up security at a Super Bowl and a World Series. As chief of police in Savannah-Chatham County, he oversaw the massive security details at the 2004 G-8 Summit. He said at events like this, police walk a fine line.
“We want them to know that they are safe, but we don’t want to scare them,” he said.
Flynn also said dogs specially trained to detect explosives will sweep the Marietta Square before and during the big event. And along with eyes in the sky, there will be feet on the ground. Police – both uniformed and in plain clothes – will keep a close eye on Taste of Marietta at street level.
Flynn stressed there have been no credible threats made against the annual restaurant crawl. While attendees will see plenty of his officers on the square, Flynn said even more resources will be held in reserve, close at hand should trouble break out.