After a shooting during the July 4 parade in Highland Park left seven people dead and scores more injured, McHenry County Police Department is keeping a tight lid on any potential changes to security at public events.
“In an effort to keep the integrity of our special events pre-planning intact, I am not free to discuss our policing tactics or operational planning mechanisms,” the Crystal Lake Police Chief said. , James Black, in an email.
Huntley Police Chief Robert Porter gave a similar response, but added that after shooting events, such as school shootings, it’s typical for the department to increase its presence.
A similar approach for future events can be expected, he said. They also receive assistance from residents who can help act as “eyes and ears,” he said.
“We don’t release pre-event planning,” Porter said. “Just increased visibility.”
The Highland Park shooter opened fire Monday during the city’s Independence Day parade from a rooftop and was arrested hours later after initially driving away from the scene. In addition to seven people who were killed, around 40 others were injured.
In response to news from Highland Park on Monday, Huntley opted to postpone her fireworks display until her makeup day in September, Porter said.
Woodstock, however, continued with its event on Monday night, which included a fireworks display.
In a social media post ahead of the event on Monday afternoon, Mayor Mike Turner said Woodstock police officers will be “in attendance…and vigilant to enhance the safety of all who attend.”
“All Woodstock residents share the shock and dismay of what happened in Highland Park. Public safety is always paramount for gatherings in the town of Woodstock,” Turner said in the post.
The day after the show on Tuesday, Woodstock Town Manager Roscoe Stelford said police presence was already high at events, which usually brings out almost the whole department as it is.
” I do not think so [the department] no longer has to give,” he said. “I know it’s a difficult thing because you hope it’s an isolated incident. But we also want to adapt.
Training active shooters is also something many communities have started doing, Stelford said.
Even if departments do not publish potential plans, reviewing and updating plans, especially after events like Highland Park, is part of the course.
Crystal Lake is always reviewing and updating its special event plans, and revisiting them after the fact to see what improvements can be made, Black said.
For upcoming events, such as the Pistakee Bay Fireworks show in Johnsburg, organizer Tom Fuchs said the show will go on as scheduled just after dusk on Saturday. For about 15 years, the event has grown and has always been secure, he said.
Bouncers and Johnsburg police are patrolling the event, ambulances are nearby just in case, but there were never any problems, he said. This year will be no different.
“We’re not going to change much,” he said. “We didn’t panic [over] this. We are just a small town in the middle of nowhere. I don’t expect anything [to happen].”
In Huntley, if there were to be some type of direct threat, the department has resources, such as more police officers and specific police units, that it can access through mutual aid, Porter said.
Porter also encouraged residents to report if they see anything suspicious, which other departments have echoed as well.
“Our officers and staff are always transparent,” Porter said. “If you see anything out of the ordinary, give us a call. Our community is very good about it.