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'Few Hundred' More Officers at Pride Parade In Wake of Orlando Shooting

By  Ariel Cheung and Stephanie Lulay | June 16, 2016 1:30pm 

 Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson addresses concerns about safety during the Pride Parade and Pride Fest during a news conference Thursday.
Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson addresses concerns about safety during the Pride Parade and Pride Fest during a news conference Thursday.
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DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung

LAKEVIEW — In the wake of the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub, a "few hundred" additional Chicago Police officers will be deployed at the Chicago Pride Parade next week, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said Thursday. 

The move comes as police and parade organizers step up security measures before an estimated 1 million parade-goers are expected to descend on North Side neighborhoods to celebrate the Chicago Pride Parade June 26 and Pride Fest this weekend.

Despite the added police presence, Johnson said there were no credible threats to Chicago or the Pride Parade at this time.

"However, out of an abundance of caution following recent events, more resources have been deployed to the communities hosting these upcoming events," Johnson said. 

CTA stations and high-traffic areas Downtown and along the lakefront also will see an added police presence, Johnson said. 

Already, parade organizers cut back on the the number of participants. About 160 entries will march June 26, a 25 percent decrease from the 215 that participated in last year's four-hour parade.

Private security for the Chicago Pride Parade also will be increased to 160 guards, up from 90 last year. 

The added police presence for Pride is coupled with a boost in police manpower in the Town Hall District, which includes Lakeview and portions of Uptown, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square and North Center.

So far this year, the district has added 45 more sworn officers, bringing its ranks up to 378.

RELATED: Dozens More Police Sent To Lakeview To Fight Street Crime

The parade will take a moment of silence to honor the victims of the shooting at Pulse night club in Orlando, Fla., said organizer Richard Pfeiffer. Windy City Times and ChicagoPride.com also will display photos and names of the victims along the route.

Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) called on parade-goers to have "self-respect [and] respect for the city," asking for "less alcohol, less displays of immaturity."

While talk of moving the parade Downtown has been largely absent this year, "it is not a permanent decisions, necessarily," to keep it in Boystown, Tunney said.

"If we can do anything to remember the tragedy in Orlando, it's having respect," he said. "I'm asking for a week, a day of respect for each other."

Since the Orlando tragedy that saw 49 killed, emergency officials and the Chicago Police Department have increased security measures, said Rich Guidice, managing deputy director of the Office of Emergency and Management and Communications. 

"We have adjusted resources and increased security measures so that the focus can remain on what the Pride Fest and the Pride Parade are all about — the celebration of our LGBT community," Guidice said. 

However, Johnson and FBI Special Agent in Charge John Brown declined to provide specifics.

"We don't want to give our playbook out," Johnson said.

Last weekend, police arrested an Indiana man armed with assault rifles and explosive chemicals in Los Angeles who told officers he was headed to a Pride event in West Hollywood.

Emergency officials are urging the public to be aware of their surroundings and to report suspicious activity or packages to police by calling 911. 

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