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'This is a gun-free event': Detroit police chief unveils plans for NFL Draft weekend

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Officials in Detroit say prepartions are well in hand as hundreds of thousands of people are expected to come to the Motor City from April 25 - 27 for the NFL Draft.

The three-day event will pack the city's downtown and the message today from police agencies: “we are ready.”

“We will be working together in this effort to make sure the 300,000 plus who come to this area to enjoy the NFL draft are safe and protected,” said Wayne County Sheriff Raphael Washington.

The Detroit Police Department hosted a media conference Thursday to detail some of the plans for the busy weekend.

Those include collaborations between local, city, state and federal police, all of whom will be out in full force next weekend watching for public safety and potential threats.

Nearby police services will be lending staff and resources, like explosive detection dogs, to ensure the massive event is safe and fun for all attendees.

“If somebody's planning just to come down to the draft and be promote chaos or promote drama. If you see it, or you hear about it, say something,” said Jim Deir of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Unit.

Detroit’s Chief of Police James White said not a single officer will be on vacation and is reminding visitors to the festivities that weapons aren’t welcome.

“This is a gun free, weapons free event,” said Chief White.

Metal Detectors will line entrance points to the draft party footprint and police are warning bad actors to stay away.

“We know who the bad actors are and Detroit is not the place for you,” said Deir.

Windsor Police Chief Jason Bellaire said the service is part of the integrated security strategy team but Windsor officers will be staying on the Canadian side of the border.

“People should know that they're free to travel to our city to enjoy the great amenities that Windsor has during this event,” said Chief Bellaire.

Just how many people are planning to take him up on that offer? Police don’t know.

If hotels are any indication, it will be a lot. Windsor lodgings are booked solid and foot traffic will be up, especially on Saturday.

“We do get the spill over the people that come and visit the city. And we know that and we're ready for it,” said Chief Bellaire.

The festivities aren’t limited to Detroit.

The 300 Block of Ouellette Avenue will be closed between University Avenue and Park Street for a Block Party Saturday, April 27 between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.

The party will feature games and football clinics, NFL Alumni special guests, a draft viewing screen, extended patios and a stage featuring performers including the Jody Raffoul Band, Huttch, Nasaan, Daniel Hex and Royce Da 5’9.

“Street closures are something we continually get asked to do. And we absolutely love to do them,” said Chris MacLeod, the chair of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association.

“Windsor’s NFL Draft activations speak to our city’s incomparable community spirit, as well as our growing profile as a premier event destination,” said MacLeod, noting it will be “off the hook.”

“The NFL Draft Block Party brings together that excitement of football with the best of Windsor’s music scene, is a great way to show off downtown’s dynamism and hospitality, and creates a memorable and unique experience that residents and visitors will be drawn to right here in the heart of the city.”

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