Safety procedures in place for Augusta's high-profile sporting events

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Monday, April 15, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The explosions in Boston happened less than 24 hours after thousands of people filled Augusta for the final round of the Masters Tournament. The marathon and the Masters are both international sporting events bringing spectators and competitors from all over the world.

Major events like those require a lot of security and a lot of planning, but law enforcement officials say you can't plan for every situation.

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office spends an entire year preparing security measures for the high-profile event, but they say no matter how much they prepare, you're never fully ready for a situation like the one in Boston.

"This is a world event, and when the eyes of the world are on one location, we have to take everything at face value," said Cpt. Scott Gay with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

As an international event, security at The Masters is a top priority.

"We can't be prepared for everything, [but] we try to be prepared for everything," said Sgt. Michael McDaniel.

Throughout the year, the Sheriff's Office works through all sorts of scenarios preparing deputies for the worst -- like the bombings at the Boston Marathon.

"You can't really sit here and fathom what it would be like, but you can't help but to think what would we do in that situation," McDaniel said.

McDaniel calls it a reality check for law enforcement.

"It' s a reminder, 'Oh my goodness, this could happen here,' which is the reason why we have our training; which is the reason we have our specialized education."

For those who attended the Masters, it's a reminder that anything can happen, anytime, anywhere.

"I know they have top-notch security at the Augusta Masters, but anything could just happen," said Masters patron Dominio Strom.

"It's kinda crazy because you don't really expect it," added patron Levi Carter. "Security around here is pretty tight, so you don't really think it could happen, but you just never know."

No matter how much they plan, law enforcement and first responders never know what might happen until it does.

"You don't really know until you're faced with it," McDaniel said.

But they learn from every situation, including the one in Boston.

"That's gonna be looked at from this day until Masters next year," McDaniel said.

They also get a report from the FBI before the Masters looking for anything that could go wrong. They have bomb squad, SWAT team, dog teams and more on standby 24/7 during Masters Week.

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