LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Metro Police Department's Deputy Chief LaVita Chavous provided an update on safety plans ahead of Derby weekend. 

What You Need To Know

  • LMPD addresses rumors about Derby plans

  • Deputy chief says fences go up every year for crowd control

  • Also says LMPD isn't using tanks, but is using armored vehicles

  • Still unclear how many protesters plan to arrive

Chavous addressed several rumours about the protests, including one about fences LMPD has set up around Churchill Downs.

"We install fences every year, and part of the reason why we install fences is for crowd control and management," she said. "We have vehicular traffic going up and down Central Avenue, so that is a way or mechanism to be able to control the crowds so that they don't get hurt or they don't accidentally step out into the roadway."

In addition, Chavous said a rumor about LMPD using tanks isn't true.

"There are no tanks out there," she said. "They're armored vehicles, and the reason why we do that is because the armored vehicles, we know in past events, we look around the country, we've had vehicle rammings, we've had people with high-powered weapons, we have active shooter incidents. And then we've also had techniques designed to  create chaos and destruction, so the armored vehicles are there to be able to manage those potential incidents and for safety of everyone."

At the briefing, Chavous said LMPD is prepared for large crowds; however, it's still unclear how many protesters will be present this weekend. She said LMPD will not intervene with lawful protests that aren't violent.

This weekend, Chavous said, there will be a large officer presence at Churchill Downs and downtown along Broadway. Earlier in the week, LMPD said this would be to monitor Derby celebrations and protests.

LMPD also announced road closures this weekend but it expects less traffic diruptions due to a lack of fans. 

Lt. Arnold Rivera said the only road that will be closed is Central Avenue from 3rd Street to Taylor Boulevard while Oakdale Avenue will be limited to local access. Road closures and restrictions began at 8 a.m. Friday.