SPOKANE, Wash. - With those terrible images from the Boston Marathon bombing fresh in their minds, Spokane Police detailed their plans to keep this weekend's Bloomsday safe Tuesday afternoon.
You probably knew it was coming: This year you won't be able to get anywhere near those sardine-packed staging areas wearing a backpack, and, as you might expect, because of Boston, any Spokane police officer who thought they'd have Bloomsday off, is now working it.
"We want everyone to understand this is going to be a very well-secured event," Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub said.Bloomsday security
Flanked by the sheriff, the FBI and even homeland security officials, Chief Straub laid out the details of this year's Bloomsday security plan.
Because of what happened at the Boston Marathon even border patrol agents and their helicopter will now be part of the race.
"The idea being that we have very good situational awareness around the beginning and the end of the race but also along the race course," Straub explained.
Even before the race gets it start, the larger staging areas for runners will be swept clean by explosive sniffing dogs. Police plan to keep those areas safe by keeping backpacks and bags out.
"Please don't bring backpacks, don't bring gym bags to the race. If you're a runner you're not going to be allowed into the area with a backpack or gym bag," Straub said.
Also, expect to be rubbing elbows with a lot of police officers, both undercover and uniformed cops who'll be looking for something suspicious.
"If you see something say something. What we're asking you to do at this event is go to a uniform police officer or go to a race volunteer. Report a suspicious package, suspicious activity to them. They will make a notification to us," Straub said.
Bloomsday security will actually start a long way from the race course. When you're riding on one of those buses that delivers runners downtown, don't be surprised if you're sharing your coach with a cop.