JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Jacksonville Beach law enforcement doubled up security in preparation for the July 4 festivities.
The Seawalk Pavilion was filled with American flags, food and family-friendly events for the return of the Stars and Stripes celebration.
It was a much more tame scene near the Seawalk stage compared to just five weeks ago over the Memorial Day weekend. A brutal beat down captured on video – the violent images went viral.
With up to 100,000 people expected at the beach throughout the night, local law enforcement is stepping up security.
"We haven't even gotten all the shifts in yet and there's already a large police presence," said Sgt. Tom Crumley.
Jacksonville Beach police doubled their reinforcements since the last go around in 2011. That's when a near riot broke out and caused the cancellation of last year's show.
More than 100 officers are patrolling at every corner. JSO, St. Augustine Beach, Nassau county and FHP are all pitching in to help police.
“Today's not a day for leniency,” said Mayor Charlie Latham. “Today is a day for maximum safety."
It'll be tough to miss a uniform when walking through the crowd. If you manage to break away from ground patrol, you may still be under the watchful eye of law enforcement. Two high-tech surveillance towers are keeping a constant birds-eye view over the area.
Latham, who is a fourth generation combat vet, tells Action News the family-friendly festivities will not be deterred by unruly revelers. “It’s an opportunity to honor the sacrifice of the men and women of our armed forces and for all of us to gel together as a community and as a nation."