Joe LaFurgey -
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) -- Grand Rapids Police have learned more about protecting huge crowds since ArtPrize started eight years ago.
"With each passing year, we're getting better when it comes to ensuring the safety of citizens here at ArtPrize," said GRPD Sgt. Terry Dixon.
Security plans for ArtPrize Eight are largely similar to past years. Extra officers will be on site to handle crowd control, traffic and any other problems that may arise during the global competition.
Dixon says the department has not ramped up security beyond the normal ArtPrize contingent in the wake of terror attacks in New York, New Jersey and Minnesota. But they are asking visitors to keep those incidents in mind when they head downtown.
"If there's anything that looks suspicious - a bag out of place or things like that - please give us a call. A simple 911 (call) will do it," said Dixon.
The GRPD's call for vigilance also extends to navigating the streets of Grand Rapids. While terrorism is on the minds of many, just crossing the busy streets during ArtPrize can be dangerous.
"If there's an officer there and he or she is directing traffic across the street, we are asking for the public to follow the direction of the officer. Please cross at a crosswalk," said Dixon. "(They are) basic simple things, but those basic simple things could save lives."
Another tip: park and walk. Dixon suggests using some of the parking lots on the fringe of downtown, especially near Grand Valley State University's west side campus, and beginning your ArtPrize exploration from there.