Stonewall Increases Security

Stonewall Pride 2022. Photo by JR Davis.

Security will be stronger than ever at next weekend’s Stonewall Pride Parade & Street Festival.

While much of the focus leading up to this year’s event has focused on protesting the legal attacks on youth and drag entertainment, there continues to be heightened awareness of physical attacks directed at the event.

Wilton Manors Police Chief Gary Blocker sat down with OutSFL to discuss safety preparations that come with having 40,000-plus people pack Wilton Drive.

“I’m confident we’re ready and prepared to welcome 40,000 friends along Wilton Drive and for them to have a great time and for them to have a safe time that day. We’ve been planning for this since December.”

Outside threats from militia groups to so-called “lone wolf” actors, terrorist threats have become all too common in recent years. Sniffing them out and preventing them is a multi-agency job.

“We have our state, local, and federal analysts monitoring sources of information in search of anything that may cause alarm that we need to investigate.”

Of course there will be many visible signs of security that include uniformed officers, water barricades to stop vehicles from plowing through, a security check for explosives before gates open and more. There will also be unseen measures, including undercover officers in the crowd and monitoring internet and radio communications for threats.

Chief Blocker says security is a two-way street, and citizens need to participate. The “see something, say something” strategy encourages people to report something they feel is not right. Though many feel hesitant or that they’re overreacting, they are encouraged to report it and let police check it out.

In the event of an emergency during the event, Blocker says real time updates can be found on their Twitter handle, @WMPD411.

As of now, Blocker says there are no threats to the event or any of its possible participants.

“I’m confident we’re ready and prepared to welcome 40,000 friends along Wilton Drive and for them to have a great time and for them to have a safe time that day.”

Drag Down the Party

Many are worried about violations of a new law that puts public drag entertainment under a microscope. Blocker doesn’t believe it will be an issue.

“I’ve looked at past Stonewall festivals. I know what I’ve seen out there, I know what our friends have seen out there and I know the types of performances that are on the floats and in our clubs. I looked at this legislation and past events, and I don’t see any of those past events being in conflict with this new legislation.”

His comments echo those of Wilton Manors Mayor Scott Newton and event producers.

“Our primary mission that day is the safety of 40,000 individuals. We will not rest until those friends are home, asleep and safe. I believe that our community will thrive as in years past.”


Phone: 954-514-7095
Hours: Monday - Friday 9AM - 2PM


2520 N. Dixie Highway,
Wilton Manors, FL 33305



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