SBD/October 4, 2013/Events and Attractions

N.Y. Marathon Will Search All Bags As Part Of Increased Security Measures

Runners' families heading to the finish line will go through a special screening
N.Y. Marathon organizers are instituting several security restrictions, including searching "all bags brought anywhere near" the event, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, according to Mary Pilon of the N.Y. TIMES. In addition, family members of runners "heading to the finish line will go through a special screening," and people "marching in the kickoff parade will not be allowed to carry bags of any kind." Race organizers are "overhauling their approach to road racing security." NYRR President & CEO Mary Wittenberg "almost immediately after the Boston bombings in April" consulted with NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. Wittenberg said that NYRR "hired an international private security firm, MSA Security, to conduct 'a top-to-bottom analysis' of the organization’s existing security plan." NYRR Exec VP/Event Development & Broadcast Production Peter Ciaccia said that event organizers are "trying to seal off more areas, perhaps most notably at the family reunion area, where new bag checks will be installed along Central Park West." Pilon reports other security elements will include "clear plastic bags used to store goods; an expansion of baggage inspection areas" at the starting line and "an increase of assigned police officers, uniformed and undercover." N.Y.-based security consultant Anthony Roman said that he expected the NYPD to "use some combination of its extensive counterterrorism tools." But Ciaccia said, "We’re not trying to create a police state." Pilon notes marathons "have long posed security challenges." While the NFL can "seal off stadiums, the paradelike, sprawling layout of a marathon" creates a "security headache" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/4). The AP's Rachel Cohen reported the added security will include an increase in "bomb-sniffing dogs." Also, key staffers and volunteers will "receive new training in emergency management." However, NYRR "decided it would be impractical to ban bags from the finish area." Wittenberg said that NYRR had "heard little concern from entrants about security risks" (AP, 10/3).
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