Extra Security For Weekend Race, Cubs Games After Boston Bombings
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CHICAGO (CBS) – In the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, the Chicago Area Runners Association was honoring their Boston colleagues with a Unity Run on Tuesday.
CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports the run, starting at Foster Avenue Beach, was not getting any special security attention, but other sporting events in Chicago over the next few days will.
“When we get hit by something like this terrorist attack, we’re going to push back and show them it’s not going to break us. We’re going to be made stronger,” said CARA executive director Wendy Jaehn. “It’s part of why we’re doing the run tonight; our Unity Run. It’s just to show that we want to get together, because together we’ll help each other heal and process this.”
Donning the signature blue and yellow jacket from the Boston Marathon, Jaehn said her group is equally committed to the FirstMerit Bank Lakefront 10 Miler on Saturday, starting at Montrose Beach. Despite the bombing at the Boston Marathon on Monday, she said cancelling this weekend’s race was not an option.
“We’ve increased the number of security personnel to be at the start and finish lines, gear check areas. They’ve always been there, but they’re going to be a little bit more obvious,” she said.
Jaehn said more police will be at Montrose Harbor for the race, too.
It’s the new security reality for anyone involved with securing a crowded event, like Tuesday night’s Cubs game against the Texas Rangers.
“We’ll have a heightened level of security. We’ll be reinforcing with all of our staff all the protocols that they should go through,” Cubs spokesman Julian Green said.
That includes more thorough bag checks, a stepped-up police presence, and additional K-9 units at Wrigley Field for the Cubs three-game set against the Rangers, through Thursday afternoon.
There has been no word on whether the additional security at Wrigley Field will include removing any trash bins outside the stadium.
“That might be something that we look at this evening. Right now … we’ll let Chicago Police take the lead, and let us know what more that we can do,” he said.
Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director Jonathan Monken said his agency is making sure it’s ready for the upcoming summer festival season, which features big events like Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza and the Blues Festival.
“The summer season in the city of Chicago, there are a lot of public events that are going to be happening; all kids of festivals,” he said.
The city also hosts the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October. Security measures might be changed for some of those events after the Boston bombings.
“It’s certainly possible. What we don’t want is we certainly don’t want this to impede future events,” Monken said. “Ultimately, that’s what these people want. The people that perpetrate these crimes want people to stop their normal routines.”
Monken said his agency will keep close tabs on intelligence and any chatter about potential copycats or threats moving forward which would impact event security plans.
He also echoed what others have asked: that the public be just as aware as any security personnel on the job about suspicious activity they might witness during their daily routines.