MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – As the country mourns the latest act of violence, it leaves many curious as to safety procedures for local festivals and concerts.
Myrtle Beach Police Department Capt. Joey Crosby said with each national tragedy comes a review of public event security planning. As guns were the weapons of choice in the Route 91 Harvest Festival massacre Sunday night, a vehicle was the weapon in Charlottesville, Va.
As large festivals take place at home, specifically the Carolina Country Music Fest, Crosby said tragedies make security planning more complex, but work to ensure attendees’ safety.
“This is going to be a massive investigation, a massive undertaking,” Crosby said of the Las Vegas shooting. “Videos that you see are critical pieces of information for your investigation, each and every one of them.”
Crosby said that, despite the suspect being dead, there’s still a lot of work to be done to find additional information, pieces of evidence, a motive and possible accomplices.
According to Crosby, the Las Vegas Police Department executed a new type of training that Myrtle Beach police would have done if they were in that situation.
“The response is you go immediately to where the situation is, and that’s a change in philosophy and a change in practice. It all starts with training, in how we’re trained and how we work together.”
Crosby recalled the past, where police only had to worry about transportation and traffic issues. Now, he said, police take precautions with backpacks, the possibility of vehicles driving into the events and, of course, gun violence.
“We’re going to look at various festivals across the country, what happened in Las Vegas tonight, and enhance our protocol,” he said.
Crosby added police have security plans for all public events, from the Myrtle Beach Marathon to this weekend’s seafood festival. He said sometimes those security plans change the day of, based on setup.
As for Carolina Country Music Fest, Crosby said plans are enhanced each year based on the previous year. He added security plans for 2018 began before the last act took the stage at 2017’s festival.
“The first year all those SWAT officers weren’t on site, you didn’t see them. The last two years you’ve seen the SWAT officers. We want to let attendees know there’s a large police presence and we’re capable of handling anything that may occur,” Crosby said.
Crosby said scouring hotel rooms and utilizing the police skywatch tour are part of preparedness.
If attendees were to find themselves in a shooting situation, Crosby said they should attempt to flee and try to leave the area as quickly as possible.
‘If you cannot flee, then you hide. If you cannot hide, then you fight. Flee, hide and then fight,” he said.
On a personal note, Crosby noted the professionalism of the Las Vegas Police Department. While the department has put the community and victims first throughout the day Monday, they are also mourning the loss of one of their own.
One off-duty LVPD officer was confirmed as one of the 59 victims as of Monday night.
“So as a law enforcement officer, it hurts us to see something like this. I’m sure Las Vegas this morning, that’s their home, and for something like this to happen in their city, it hurts, because every time the officer raises their right hand and takes that oath – This is our city. We take pride in our city – when things happen in our city, we hurt. Just like we know the Las Vegas PD’s hurting today,” Crosby said.
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