Security a focus at area LGBTQ bars in first weekend since Orlando massacre

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - It’s been nearly a week since the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people were shot to death. Friday night, it was business as usual along Massachusetts Avenue downtown but not without a renewed focus on safety, especially at LGBTQ bars.

Staffs of area bars attended an active shooter training seminar that IMPD put on Thursday afternoon.

“You know, it’s scary. You can just never be sure of what’s going to happen,” said Amanda Fronek.

Visitors to Massachusetts Avenue on Friday night said they feel safe yet cautious.

“It feels safe down here. It’s nice. It’s like a little haven for everybody,” said John Stevens, “It seems like everybody out here is having a good time, very rarely do you see anything going on down here.”

“A lot of preparation and training going into this week, so that we are as prepared as we could possibly be,” said Chet VanWye, General Manager of METRO.

VanWye said IMPD has offered their assistance to his establishment, even doing a walk-through and giving suggestions on how they could increase security in the wake of the Orlando shooting.

He said much won’t change for patrons, but staff have been briefed to be more aware.

Communication methods between staff members inside the bar are improving too. He tells us there are safety measures in the works that he can’t disclose.

“There are going to be more modifications to our training, to our staffing,” he said.

He said his team now realizes they are the first line of defense in keeping a safe place for the LGBTQ community free from those who might do harm.

“At this point, we’ve got to be our own army, our own soldiers. We’ve got to take care of each other,” he said, “It was someone’s safe place that got attacked.”

IMPD said they’ll have a large contingent of officers downtown this weekend, including downtown beat officers.

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