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Boise Pride Festival increasing private security ahead of annual event

Boise Pride is hosting the festival on the heels of an attempted riot in Idaho where 31 'Patriot Front' members loaded into the back of a U-Haul in Coeur D'Alene.

BOISE, Idaho — The Boise Pride Festival will increase private security presence ahead of its annual three-day event from Sept. 9 to Sept. 11, according to the festival's Vice President Joseph Kibbe.

"We made the commitment to hold [security measures] steady and do slight increases in some areas," Kibbe said. "The overall message that our organization does and strives for is inclusion in our community - helping to drive that narrative in Boise around diversity and inclusion."

Boise Pride is held on the heels of a North Idaho Pride Alliance event in June where police arrested 31 Patriot Front members who intended to derail the event. All 31 men are charged with conspiracy to riot. This charge is a misdemeanor.

"It was very scary and very alarming. I had a lot of questions like everybody else," Kibbe said. "Those individuals do not stand for what Idaho represents. Most of those people are not from inside the State of Idaho and they traveled here to do something very bad."

Outside of Boise Pride's private security, the Boise Police Department (BPD) and Idaho State Police will monitor events throughout the weekend.

"[After Patriot Front], one of the very first phone calls I made was to Boise Chief of Police. Chief Ryan Lee," Kibbe said.

BPD has monitored Boise Pride's events in years past, according to Boise Police Patrol Sgt. Sara Hill. The Boise Pride Festival has traditionally been a safe event; it is also one of the larger events BPD monitors.

The Boise Police Department allocates the necessary resources on a case-by-case basis.

"We monitor the information that comes into us from anticipate numbers, vendors, and what has happened typically in the past as a starting point for us. I am involved as a supervisor for the team of officers assigned for Friday night's events," Sgt. Hill said. "For the people that are not happy for this event occurring in our community, and they want to rally or walk a different position, we encourage them to have a safe and secure, peacefully rally or event as well. This is not just for one side or another, this is for all people to be able to speak their mind about the causes they feel strongly about."

Additionally, Kibbe has heard concerns about the Sunday of the Boise Pride Festival falling on Sept. 11 - the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack against the United States.

"I think there is a small group of people who are not happy," Kibbe said.

Traditionally, Boise Pride has taken place during June in celebration of pride month. However, COVID concerns delayed the event back in previous years.

With the event occurring in September, college kids throughout the Treasure Valley will be back on campus and be able to participate in the event, according to Kibbe. Logistically, the second week of September works best for the schedules that need to line up for a successful event.

"Honestly, I think everyone travels over Labor Day," Kibbe said. "[The second weekend of September] seemed like a really natural fit for the community."

Boise Pride will not fall on 9/11 in 2023 due to the natural calendar cycle.

Boise Pride will hold a moment on the main stage Sunday to remember the events of 9/11, Kibbe said.

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