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Glendale makes plans for Jackson's funeral

August 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Elaborate plans were laid out Thursday afternoon as the city of Glendale geared up to provide security for Michael Jackson's funeral on August 29, marking what would have been his 51st birthday. Services will be held at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, a 335-acre facility surrounded by eight-foot walls and barbed wire.

Sgt. Tom Lorenz from the Glendale Police Department told Eyewitness News that he received a phone call from a close source of the Jackson family about a possible date change of the funeral from Saturday, August 29 to Monday, August 31.

Extraordinary measures were taken to keep prying eyes from Michael Jackson's private memorial service in July. For his services scheduled for August, the Glendale Police Department will be on the watch for paparazzi who may hire an aircraft, or try to sneak into the event.

"The FAA will be having an inspector fly along with our support unit. We may even have a chase aircraft to make sure any rogue aircraft is dealt with," said Sgt. Lorenz.

"If you can even think of maybe finding a way to get on to this property by jumping a wall somewhere, say you wanted to do it at 2 o'clock in the morning and low crawl it to a tree and climb up a tree and hide that's not going to work either."

Police helicopters are equipped with FLIR technology, which involves thermal imaging.

"The FLIR will pick up any hot spot whether you are in a tree, or in an open area or under a bush ... It will pick you up," said Sgt. Tom Lorenz.

Fans will not be able to get close to the entrance either. Five blocks of Glendale Boulevard will be closed from Los Feliz to San Fernando Road. Adjacent neighborhoods will be passable only to residents.

"You will need your identification to get back into these areas, to show you live in that area during the closure," says Sgt. Pete Pressnall, Glendale Police Department.

The police department will soon send out letters to businesses to be shut down, ranging from a florist to a dialysis center.

Sgt. Lorenz reminds people that they will not be able to catch a glimpse of arriving guests by coming near the area.

"You aren't even going to know where they are going to enter because there are so many streets to enter," said St. Lorenz.

A media pool will send out pictures of the arrivals at the grand mausoleum. Glendale Police Department says instead of trying to cross the security line, fans and residents should watch the event on TV.

"You are going to have security with the canine, police with a canine, or someone else there to immediately take some action and you will be removed," warns Sgt. Tom Lorenz.

The movie of Jackson's concert, "This Is It" is set to hit theaters worldwide starting October 28. Eyewitness News is told tickets will go on sale on September 27.

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