CHICAGO (CBS) – The Chicago Police Department and other agencies have been putting the finishing touches on security plans for Sunday’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon, with thoughts of the Boston bombings in April fresh in their minds.
WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports marathon executive director Carey Pinkowski said he’s confident security for the Chicago Marathon will be thorough.
“We’re looking forward to a safe, secure, and memorable race experience,” Pinkowski said.
This year, runners must pick up their credentials in person, and any personal belongings they bring to the race must be placed in a single clear plastic bag. Spectators may bring bags to Grant Park, but must pass through a bag-screening checkpoint.
Bomb-sniffing dogs and extra police patrols will be stationed along the marathon route.
“The real Lessons from are, what do we do about backpacks and do we have enough bomb-sniffing dogs?” Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy says.
Mayor Emanuel points to last summer’s Blackhawks Stanley Cup celebration and tougher Lollapalooza security as proof authorities can handle it.
“We’ve already had several events since Boston here in the city of Chicago in that same area that have had way more people and done it in a secure and safe way and people have enjoyed themselves,” Emanuel says.
Both runners returning for another marathon — as well as those here for the first time — seem to accept even welcome the changes made in security.
“I think whenever we have a tragedy like what happened in Boston there have to be changes to make sure people are safe. So, is it going to change? Yeah, a little bit, but I think it’s for the better,” Dave Zimmer of Fleet Street says.
Approximately 38,000 runners will be taking part in the marathon, and thousands of spectators will line the race route.