More Details Released On Security For Chicago Marathon
CHICAGO (CBS) — More details are being released on how Chicago plans to keep runners and spectators safe for this Sunday’s marathon.
Five days away from the race, preparations are taking shape.
From his diner, Richard Branter gets clear a glimpse of the preparations and the thought of “what if” – tough to shake.
“I do think about it for the security of the people in the neighborhood, sure,” said Branter.
The lessons of Boston are driving much of the planning this year.
“There are no known threats to Chicago,” said Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy.
Police and safety officials today highlighted the new rules, including one that prohibits participants from leaving bags or clothing items unattended within Grant Park or anywhere along the marathon route.
McCarthy said that any such items found by police, “will be collected and discarded.”
There will also be more random bag searches for spectators and runners will be required to use clear plastic bags for their gear.
Several agencies such as the FBI and Secret Service will be contributing bomb sniffing dogs and officers.
Tens of thousands of cameras will be watching every moment.
“We’re gonna have eyes on the ground on just about every foot of the marathon route,” said McCarthy.
The security will be especially tight near the start and finish line. No spectators will be allowed to gather in the area. Police say they will be less tolerant of people jumping in to run portions of the route, saying it could get you arrested.
CBS 2’s Mike Parker rode along the perimeter of Grant Park – Marathon Central with a former Chicago Police Commander.
Neil Sullivan, now a security consultant, says undercover police officers along the race route are essential. But he added, “The most important thing in securing a route or event are the participants and the onlookers themselves cause they’re the great force multipliers. They’re the ones – if you have a million people, you have a million sets of eyes.”
Sullivan says Chicago’s advantage is having more than 20 years of marathon experience. “After 9-11, security was ratcheted up some more, now given the impact of the Boston situation, it’s going to be locked down even further.”