KCPD prepares for "March For Our Lives" rally

Posted at 6:56 PM, Mar 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-23 20:18:22-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Crews on Friday assembled the stage at Theis park that'll serve as the focal point for Saturday's "March For Our Lives" demonstration.

Rachel Gonzalez, a freshman at Missouri Western State University, is one of the organizers. 

"Columbine happened six months after I was born in 1999 and ever since then we've had these mass shootings in our schools and this is why my generation is really speaking up about it and really trying to make a difference," Gonzalez told 41 Action News. 

The event that runs from noon to 4 p.m. is anticipated to draw at least 5,000 people.

"The violence should not happen at institutions, schools and anyplace which is considered safe this message needs to go wide to the legislators," Mohammad Azeem, another organizer said. 

Police have several security measures in place to keep participants safe.  

Some will be obvious like barricades and officers stationed throughout the rally.  

Others measures will be hard to spot, including four portable cameras perched around the perimeter of the park in case the unimaginable happens. 

"If the crowds start running this way or if they start running that way, we know 'Ok, we got to get officers over there to handle people running that way, we need to get officers in this area to help neutralize whatever threat they're running from,'" Sgt. Patrick Rauzi with KCPD said.

Sgt. Rauzi told 41 Action News police will monitor the cameras from their command post and on their phones.

"Once the event happens we'll take them down a couple of days afterward and we'll move them to either another event or to address a crime issue somewhere in the city," Sgt. Rauzi said.

KCPD has 30 portable cameras, earlier this week they received funding to purchase 20 additional cameras.

The cameras were rolling back in the spring of 2016 when Trump protestors got out of hand outside the Midland theater. Something that organizers of Saturday's rally want to avoid.

"If there's counter-protesters to what we're trying to do we hope that people don't engage with those people," Gonzalez said. 

After the rally at the park, organizers say they plan to march to the J.C. Nichols Fountain. They'll head north on Oak Street and then west on Emmanuel Cleaver II Blvd.