Fourth of July expected to be Charlotte's first major event since Extraordinary Event ordinance repeal

Updated: Jun. 30, 2017 at 3:12 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - As thousands prepare to come to Charlotte for the 4th of July holiday weekend, it will be the first major Charlotte event in years without the Extraordinary Event ordinance on the books.

The Charlotte City Council voted to repeal the ordinance Monday night, which has been in place since 2012. The ordinance was established prior to the Democratic National Convention being held in Charlotte in 2012.

The designation would mean a different process for the holiday events and would change the list of items that are banned from gatherings. The designation would also give police more power to stop and search people.

However, city leaders determined the ordinance was no longer needed after a number of discussions and meetings.

"That really was about prohibited items, but we are really living in a new world where we have to be super alert to certain behaviors and suspicious persons," Jeff Estes said, who is a deputy chief with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. "We have, unfortunately, seen events across the world that have
sought to do harm to large groups of people."

Estes says the focus on public safety is no longer about focusing on protestors or anarchists that wish to throw bottles or cause commotion. The attention is on terrorists that look to attack large groups of people.

"Finding strategies that address some of the terrorist tactics we have seen throughout the world. That is quite the challenge but one that is not really being solved by this ordinance," Julie Eiselt said, who is a city council member. "When you designate everything an extraordinary event, it no longer becomes extraordinary."

CMPD says officers will be out in the city in cars, on foot and on bikes for the holiday weekend festivities. Police say they rely heavily on the public to alert officers of suspicious behavior. CMPD also works with state and federal partners to stay on top of any threats to any large gatherings.

"Any an all intelligent or information that is out that we are taking that into account," Estes said.

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