Fourth of July: Police gear up for National Mall celebrations

As the nation gears up for the Fourth of July holiday, local officials are gearing up for the thousands and thousands of people who will gather on the National Mall for the traditional fireworks display.

Flags, fences and security checkpoints are all in place up and down the perimeter of the National Mall. Everything is ready for the huge crowd expected to view the parade and fireworks show.

Security for the Fourth is not much of a concern for Bill and Pam Roach.

“We feel safe and we have friends coming in from all over and we’ll enjoy the fireworks regardless,” Bill Roach says.

The festivities will be the first huge public gathering in downtown D.C. since the Boston Marathon bombings. Metro, D.C. and National Park Police have taken that into consideration and have plans in place to make it a safe celebration.

“We have nine access points and everyone coming down to the Mall will be required to come through one of those points and subject to search of their belongings,” says Paul Brooks of the National Park Police.

And this year Park Police is offering a new free text messaging service. Those who sign up will receive alerts in the event of an emergency or bad weather. Police will even send out alerts to help find lost children.

Tom Golden is in town with his family from Atlanta.

“I am not overly concerned about security,” he says. “I know the folks down here take it seriously. I take my family out everywhere.”

“As much as they try to keep things safe, they try at a lot of events, but things still happen. I’m sure they are going to do the best they can,” says Brian Fisher.

Thinking of celebrating the Fourth on the National Mall? Plan your trip here.