FIRST ON 3: Changes being made to Riverbend Festival security - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

FIRST ON 3: Changes being made to Riverbend Festival security

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Photo courtesy of RiverbendFestival.com. Photo courtesy of RiverbendFestival.com.

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Changes are coming to Riverbend Festival security.

In the past, Friends of the Festival has hired Chattanooga Police officers to provide security for the eight-day festival.

Channel 3 has learned fewer Chattanooga officers will be needed this year.

"Riverbend has looked at an alternative for whatever reason," said City Councilman Moses Freeman, who serves as Chairman on the newly created Public Safety Committee.

"They are free to use police, and they are free to use a private firm," said Freeman, who recently learned of the change, "it's all totally up to them."

Chip Baker, Executive Director of Friends of the Festival, says the organization's board is "tweaking" its security plan.

"It will be a combination of Chattanooga Police officers, Hamilton County deputies, and a private firm," he explained.

Baker said Friends of the Festival will still work with the Chattanooga Police Department to come up with a detailed plan, but the board is looking at options when it comes to staffing.

Baker was not able to say how many officers will be offered security contracts in comparison to last year. He said the board still has to vote on a final proposal.

Baker said it's all in an effort to make the festival as safe as possible.

He said to expect additional changes to security at this year's festival.

"There will be an emphasis on searching," he said, referring to items taken into the gated festival area.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.

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