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Detroit police chief talks security ahead of 2024 NFL Draft: "Pack your patience"

Detroit police prep security for 2024 NFL draft
Detroit police prep security for 2024 NFL draft 03:03

(CBS DETROIT) - We are less than two weeks away from the start of the 2024 NFL draft, and downtown Detroit will surely look a lot different once fans barrel into Motown. 

With thousands of new visitors, police say security will be tight.

"We do big events in Detroit, we do Taylor Swift, we do Beyonce concerts, you know, we know how to manage big crowds. This is unique, it's bigger than ever a Superbowl," Detroit Police Chief James White said.

From national parades to concerts, Detroit sees it all. But with the NFL draft touching down in weeks, it's a whole new feat. It's estimated at least 300,000 people will travel into the city to enjoy the festivities.

READ: NFL Draft in Detroit. New details about how to get around the city

"Pack some patience. You are going to have to park early. You can't come down at the last minute and think you are going to have full access to everything," White said.

Road closures will continue throughout downtown until the main event. Visitors should expect things to be more controlled in the coming weeks. In total, there are six phases of closures. Phase three begins Monday as Hart Plaza gets draft-ready.

"They're going to progressively see more road closures until we get to the go time. In fact, they are going to have to really manage and plan ahead of where they are trying to go," White said.

As the city takes the national spotlight, the excitement builds. But for the chief, he and his team spent a year crossing Ts and dotting I's to make sure all residents and visitors could enjoy the fun.

"The whole event is weapons-free. Often when we say weapons-free, people think we are talking guns. No weapons, no brass knuckles, no pepper spray," White said.

A big topic for the draft preps is the new "Detroit" sign on Interstate 94. It's been a talker for sure with some on social media criticizing the sign while others think it helps set Detroit apart.

"Maybe I'm in the minority on this. I kind of like it, and I think it's unique. I've been focused on the draft, so I really haven't paid much attention to the social media chatter on it, but I drove it today, and it looks kinda cool to me," White said.

CBS News Detroit is told there's even a special detail assigned to watch over the sign to make sure no one bothers it.

For the chief, he's confident that the city of Detroit will be able to show its beauty and grit for the world to see.

"That narrative that's associated with Detroit, as my daughter says, is played out, and we are in a different place right now. We are ready to show the world what we can do," White said.

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