MPD preparing for large crowds during MLK50

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Security plans are in place for the MLK50 celebration. Memphis Police Department has been preparing since January for the national event that is expected to attract up to 75,000 people.

People attending one of the nine sites can expect obvious police presence and road closures across downtown.

Work never stops at the National Civil Rights Museum to get it ready for MLK50.

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Dignitaries and crowds are expected. Visitors told us they are ready for the moment.

“I am hoping people are willing to realize how far we have come as a nation,” said Pam Katz, visiting the museum from Chicago, IL with her husband daughter.

“The world will be watching Memphis,” said David Stewart of Nashville, TN.

Memphis Police Department will be watching also with security at the museum and at each of three venues where events are planned.

Memphis Police Deputy Chief Michael Hardy told FOX13 during a security briefing, "We will have sufficient manpower and resources to ensure we have a safe event.”

Memphis Police Department told FOX13 streets around the museum will be closed Monday and reopening Thursday morning.

At the big event on Wednesday, spectators must pass through a security check point, and some might be randomly searched, and everyone will be asked to carry their belongs in clear plastic bags.

FOX13 has been told the grounds to museum will open 8 a.m. Wednesday for people who want to get up close.

“You can compare it to a Liberty Bowl, a Southern Heritage classic, but it is going to go on for a longer period of time,” said Colonel Samuel Hines of The Memphis Police Department. FOX13 learned officers are being told they will work 12 hour shifts, but MPD will have extra help from other agencies including the FBI.

Lt. Colonel Keith Watson told FOX13,  “not only will MPD be out in increased numbers, but we also told members of the public if they see something to say something.”

FOX13 emailed the White House to ask if either President Donald Trump or Vice President Michael Pence will attend any of the events in Memphis.

The White House has not emailed a response.

FOX13 also emailed former President Barrack Obama to see if he will attend but was told by a staffer at Congressman Steve Cohen’s office Mr. Obama has declined the invitation.