HOUSTON - The annual Pride Houston Festival and parade will kick off Saturday in downtown Houston.
Organizers state on the festival's website there will be a tight security presence at the festival.
KHOU 11 News has learned Houston Police will also be taking part in the parade.
Houston police say the photo of an HPD unit adorned with rainbows will be the vehicle carrying police chief Art Acevedo and members of the HPD command staff in Saturday's parade.
An HPD spokeswoman says the decorations are removable decals and will only be on that single HPD SUV.
KHOU 11 News requested the cost for of the decals and still waiting to get the amount from HPD.
Similarly decorated police vehicles have participated in pride parades in cities throughout the rest of the country for years, but this is the first time one will make an appearance at Pride Houston.
Houston police say Chief Acevedo brought the tradition to Houston after having success with a similarly decorated police unit in the past in Austin.
Most people who spoke with KHOU 11 News on Friday said they felt the decorations on the HPD unit were a good idea.
"I think it's cool," one man in downtown said. "It shows the police are supporting the community."
Those who disagreed with the rainbow decorations would not go on camera to share their opinions. However, several of those who are opposed to the participation in the parade voice their feelings anonymously in online message boards.
"Why waste money on this junk?" Houston Reddit commentator “tyriondiit” posted. "Police vehicles should not be political billboards. -edited as propaganda was likely too strong a word."
Police would not give specifics on Pride Houston's police security expected to be present throughout the weekend, stating police did not want to give anything away to the "bad guys."
"We have plans in place to ensure the safety of everyone involved so that they may be able to enjoy themselves responsibly," Houston Police said a brief statement.
Pride Houston were not able to be reached by KHOU 11 News on Friday to answer questions relevant to security at the event.
According to the event's website, no open or concealed handguns are allowed at the festival and HPD officers will be along the parade route, both inside and outside of the festival. The website also states that there will be private security officers at the event, metal detectors and random vehicle searches within the festival.
The parade will begin Saturday night at 8:30 p.m.
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