Is Houston ready for a Las Vegas-style attack?

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Law enforcement discusses the realities of securing large scale events in the Houston area. (KTRK)

The shooting in Las Vegas may have a lot of folks close to home wondering how prepared local law enforcement is to handle a similar situation, especially with events like 'Day for Night' right around the corner.

At Discover Green, there is a full schedule of public events. The destination is popular, and within plain view of many hotels in close proximity to the park.

Back in 2009, Omar Afra's focus was on attracting thousands to the Free Press Summer Fest.

"I hate to say it, but 2009 almost seems like a different world than the one we live in today," Afra said.

There wasn't a mandatory security screening then, a different process than what people will find at this year's Day for Night festival, especially in light of what happened in Las Vegas.

"Given what happened yesterday, that means we've got to have more secure points and that means not just inside the festival grounds, but again on the perimeter of the festival grounds, and that means more personnel," Afra said.

But how much added security is enough? Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said there is no right answer to that question.

WATCH: Can drones be used to secure Houston events?
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A former HPD chief says Houston needs drones to secure large events in the city.



"We can't safeguard every single place, be at every single event, but we ask the public to be vigilant, to work with us, to get us information," Gonzalez said.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said a lone wolf can go from a thought to operation in just a matter of hours.

Acevedo said the public can play a vital role, however, by watching what's happening around them.

"There is no 100 percent guarantee, and I think the number one asset we have as a police department truly is our community," Acevedo said.

Houston's former top cop, Charles McClelland, oversaw a lot of top events, including Freedom Over Texas.

When 40,000 people flooded into Elanor Tinsley Park for Fourth of July festivities, he said he wanted access to drones but never got his wish. Now he wonders whether our police will have all the tools needed to keep us safe.

"I see no reason why commercial vendors are allowed to fly large drones over large crowds and outdoor events here in Houston, but the law enforcement community doesn't use that same technology," McClelland said.

Acevedo admits drones could be helpful, but it comes with privacy concerns.

"There are a lot of applications, we are looking at it, but that's not going to happen overnight," Acevedo said. "When you talk about drones in this country in the hands of law enforcement, it invokes a lot of privacy issues, it invokes a lot of fear, and it invokes a lot of backlash."

As for the Day for Night Festival, we have learned that the same high-tech cameras used to secure the Super Bowl in Houston will be deployed to help protect those going downtown.

"We've been speaking with the Houston Police Department and our security contractors to really get an understanding of what we can do to make this the safest environment for our attendees," Afra said.

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Related Topics:
gun violenceconcertlas vegas mass shootingshootingsecuritysafetyfestivalHouston
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