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Safety involves community effort

More than 200,000 people are expected to attend the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival this weekend, and we’re sure that local residents will do their best to make them feel at home.

We understand that a little extra traffic is a small price to pay for the benefits that the festival brings, and we’ll be concentrating on being gracious to our visitors instead of becoming impatient if we have to wait a little longer than usual to enter some venues or to get a table at our favorite restaurant.

Part of providing a good welcome for our visitors is security, and the folks who are in charge of the festival told us that safety is at the top of their list of priorities. And that’s nothing new, said Kevin Lechler, assistant director of the event.

“It’s our top priority,” Lechler told us. “We have had the same emergency response plan we have been building on for a good 10 years, that I know of.”

This is Lechler’s ninth festival as assistant director, and he assured us that organizers have never taken emergency preparedness lightly. Everyone involved is well versed and well trained.

Those involved with Denton’s festival will be doing their best to help those in the crowds at Quakertown Park feel comfortable and secure, officials said.

And when we say those involved with the festival, we’re including members of the aforementioned welcoming committee — yes, that means you.

Part of being a good host is paying attention to what’s going on around us and reporting anything suspicious.

Officer Ryan Grelle of the Denton Police Department told us that the department is asking everyone to be more aware of their surroundings.

“If you see anything unusual going on, spot an officer and let them know,” Grelle said.

Grelle said the department will have extra officers on patrol during the festival.

His advice to attendees about keeping their eyes open was echoed by Randy Plemons, assistant chief deputy of operations for the Denton County Sheriff’s Office. Plemons said personnel will be on alert as they provide security in various areas, including A-train passengers. Officials expect a lot of visitors to take the train, and they want them to have a safe and comfortable trip.

“We would remind the public to report any suspicious activity on the lines at any time,” Plemons said.

So, as you enjoy the festival today and Sunday, remember to say thanks to those who are providing security.

Thanks to their efforts, the 24th annual Denton Arts & Jazz Festival will provide another year of safe family fun.

And give them a helping hand by paying attention to your surroundings and reporting anything that concerns you to the nearest police officer or sheriff’s deputy.