The tragic events surrounding the Boston Marathon bombings Monday afternoon have left many in the sports community searching for a bigger, better, safer way to protect against future terrorist attacks.
Valley officials are quickly devising a game plan to protect the thousands of participants in the ninth annual Pat’s Run Saturday in Tempe.
“It’s been a roller coaster,” Tempe Police Sgt. Mike Pooley told Brad Cesmat in a recent interview on ‘Big Guy on Sports.’ “Usually an event like this would take months or up to a year to plan. We don’t have a lot of time to make these preparations. It’s a 24-hour non-stop, around the clock operation to make any changes.”
The 4.2 mile run/walk which sold out last year attracts over 35,000 participants from around the country. All proceeds raised benefit the Tillman Military Scholars program after former Arizona State star and Arizona Cardinal Pat Tillman was killed in Sperah in 2004.
The heightened security will be visible this weekend.
“What most people are going to see,” Pooley explained to Cesmat. “[Is] an increased presence in law enforcement. You’re going to see a lot more uniformed officers than you saw in the past.”
He mentioned this is an extremely sensitive time after the deadly explosions and are hopeful Tempe Police and everyone involved in securing the event can put the participant’s minds at ease.
“We are taking every precautionary measure to make sure this is a safe event. Part of that is going to include different police vehicles…we don’t want anyone to be alarmed by this.”
He encouraged people to leave bags and backpacks at home this weekend if possible with the area so congested. Security won’t be able to check every bag due to the sheer volume of people participating.
Pooley hopes people will be aware of their surroundings and alert security if something suspicious catches their attention.