NICE, France (AP) — President Emmanuel Macron traveled to the French Mediterranean coast on Monday to talk about internal security, making a pit stop in the city where an extremist drove a cargo truck into Bastille Day crowds in 2016, killing 86 people and injuring hundreds more.
Macron has yet to officially confirm he is running for a second term in the election this spring, but his visit to the French Rivera had campaign overtones in a stronghold of Valérie Pécresse, a conservative who is seen by many as his most significant challenger.
He was meeting with law enforcement officials, the judiciary and city officials, checking progress on security-related projects set in place in 2017 when he was elected.
Monday’s meetings were set for the former Saint Roch hospital, a 19th-century building in the heart of Old Nice. Macron will lay a foundation stone for a state-funded police complex where over 2,000 national and municipal officers will work together with state-of-the-art technology, including what Macron’s advisers called an “urban hyper-vison center” that will rely mostly on video surveillance.
Work is expected to start next year and become operational in 2025.
In September, Macron announced measures to make the police more transparent, including the publication of internal investigation reports and the creation of a parliamentary monitoring body, in efforts to improve public confidence eroded by scandals in recent years.
He also called for more training and education for the country’s police force and dealing with victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse and assault, and detailed the enforcement of a controversial law to combat radicalization after a series of Islamic extremist attacks.