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'We love our law enforcement:' Security at Fourth of July event brings comfort

Recent mass shootings, new permitless carry law spark concern
Posted at 5:46 PM, Jul 04, 2023

ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. — Dozens of Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputies mingled with the crowds Tuesday at the Royal Palm Beach Fourth of July extravaganza.

"That's very good that they stepped up with the protection because everybody wants to feel safe," said Stuart food truck operator Betty Tyson, who prepared for a busy day of cooking and selling chicken wings.

"You can never be too safe," added Heather Effron, a few food trucks down as she made coleslaw to go with lobster rolls. "And we love our law enforcement. We support our law enforcement. Team Blue: We're all about it."

The day after mass shootings in Texas and Pennsylvania, village officials want those celebrating Independence Day at Commons Park to be safe and to feel safe.

Mike Mikolaichik, assistant parks and recreation director, said that's why attendees will see so many Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputies.

Palm Beach County deputies at Commons Park in Royal Palm Beach, July 4, 2023
Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputies are seen during a Fourth of July celebration, July 4, 2023, at Commons Park in Royal Palm Beach, Fla.

"We've always, you know, been on the cautious side. We make sure that, again, it is a safe event," said Mikolaichik. "We get with PBSO prior to the events and we just make sure that we staff it correctly."

Fourth of July celebrations in Palm Beach County and along the Treasure Coast are the first large public gatherings after Florida no longer requires those carrying concealed weapons to have a permit.

Law enforcement officials said it's too soon to evaluate if this will be a major safety concern.

About 15,000 people were expected at the Royal Palm Beach celebration. People note it only takes one to turn it into a tragedy.

"Law enforcement's everywhere out here," said Tyson. "You know, that's a deterrent, you know, to the people [who] want to commit the crimes."