Memphis police unveil protocol for MLK50 celebrations

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Fifty years after Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said it's important to remember why King marched and the many sanitation workers who marched with him.

"Commemorate Dr. King's life and teachings and be inspired and challenged by his message," Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said. "Remember his challenge and until we have true equality; we haven't reached the end."

City of Memphis has worked for months to complete the "I AM A MAN" plaza next to Clayborn Temple and the MLK Reflective Site.

Both of these locations will garner a lot of attention on April 4.

Memphis police officers said they have been working on plans to handle traffic and safety for MLK50 since January 1.

Checkpoints and other security measures will be put in place, along with road closures.

Police officers will be out in increased numbers to all nine sites where MLK50 events will take place.

At those locations, there will be soft road closures where residents are still allowed to drive through and hard road closures where traffic will be stopped.

Streets near the National Civil Rights Museum will be blocked off. There will also be MPD SkyCop cameras located at all nine locations.

Police are asking for those coming to the event to carry clear bags if possible and to keep backpacks in the trucks of your cars.

"Obviously we want to go with stow it, don't show it," MPD Colonel Samuel Hines said. "If you are using your own personal transportation. Put bags, purses, so forth, in the trunk."

Police are also asking people to use public transit as much as possible to limit the number of drivers downtown.

Officers are estimating more than 50,000 people will be downtown for MLK50, which is why they are encouraging anyone who see a safety concern to speak up if they see something suspicious.

Copyright 2018 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.