May 21, 2024

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From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

As 250 officers patrol the games, EPD prioritizes the community

6 min read

Planning to mitigate threats from explosive devices; debut of ‘ambassador cars’

The City of Eugene is helping with the security for the World Athletics Championships. At the July 14 meeting of the Police Commission, Deputy Chief Shawn Adams:

[00:00:09] Deputy Chief Shawn Adams: I will talk to you a little bit about the World Championships, ‘cause that’s been my baby for over a year. One of the biggest things that, as we prepared for this, we have dedicated a lot of resources over to the University of Oregon to assist with this.

[00:00:25] And our greatest concern is that our community feels vulnerable now because of the fact the perception is that all our officers are over at the University of Oregon. That’s not the case. So when we started the planning for this, the planning was based around: ‘We have to maintain our level of service and protect our community, and then whatever’s left over, the U of O can have.’ So the message out of that is, there is no reduction in our service. There’s no reduction in the number of officers we are working.

[00:00:54] And in fact we have bolstered our staffing within the city and particularly within our downtown core to be able to offset with some of the people that will be here to celebrate the championships and maybe go down into downtown and potentially celebrate a little too much maybe, but we’re going to be present and we’re going to be, we will protect this community as we always have, as our first priority.

[00:01:16] So that’s one of the messages we certainly as an agency want to send out.

[00:01:19] And then there’s a couple of neat things that we have with our preparations for the World Championships. And we have a couple of cars working all days that we’re calling the ‘ambassador cars’ and they’re staffed with officers. They’re two-man cars, so there’s two two-man cars running around. Their primary duties are to just patrol around where our visitors will park to go to the stadium to watch the Championships.

[00:01:42] Because if you know anything about criminality, those that would do us harm are not dumb. They know that somebody’s going to leave their car there and go to the stadium for four – six hours. That makes those cars vulnerable and they’re targets. So if we can be present and interdict that, that’s important to us.

[00:01:57] The secondary mission of that, and I like to think of that as our overarching mission is, we’ve called these ‘ambassador cars,’ because we want these officers out engaging with our visitors to bolster the image of the city with those that are visiting here to problem-solve.

[00:02:10] I was on the phone with the Mexican ambassador to Oregon. We have a consulate here in Oregon and we were talking about, ‘What do we do if a Mexican national here visiting the Championships loses their passport or their documentation?’ You can imagine if you’re here in the United States from Mexico and you lose your documentation, that can be a very, very scary thing for visitors.

[00:02:34] So having that exchange of information and these ambassador cars, that information to be able to solve these problems, is pretty cool and pretty critical for us. So I just want you, and I want the community to know—we want the community to know—that there’s no reduction in our service. We’re plenty prepared for everything that will happen with the World Championships and the Fan Fest and all the associated popup events downtown. But there’s no reduction in service to what we’re doing to the remainder of the community.

[00:02:58] So, super happy about that, that all the hard work is done now, so to speak. Now we can just sit back and enjoy the next couple of weeks, 10 days, and watch the Championships.

[00:03:07] John Q: City Councilor Alan Zelenka asked about the size of the local security forces. Deputy Chief Adams.

[00:03:14] Deputy Chief Shawn Adams: I will tell you that the main event at Hayward Field is under the purview of the University of Oregon Police Department. The Oregon State Police has filled, I think, we have 92 troopers in town to support this. The Lane County Sheriff’s Office has committed, I think, 160 shifts to fill. Springfield committed, maybe 120 shifts that they’re filling and we’re filling 165 shifts for the World Championships. We’re providing tactical support in the form of, our SWAT team is supporting things, as they’re the primary tactical response in Hayward Field in the super block itself, because the athletes are there.

[00:03:54] Our bomb squad has done all the entire preparation for this event. We have explosive mitigation, including everything, which would be CBRNE, which is your Chemical, Radiological, Nuclear, Biological, Explosive threats. So we have the ability to detect and mitigate a good portion of all those threats through the use of dogs and detectors and various things.

[00:04:15] The FBI is in town with the anti-drone or counter drone team that will literally take control of any drones that violate our airspace and land them, and then we’ll conduct an investigation. The footprint over there daily, I’m going to say conservatively, we’ll have 250 law enforcement officers in over the totality of things.

[00:04:35] We’ve filled I think a total of around 900 security-type shifts. And that’s in addition to—Pono Security is running security for Hayward Field. So that’s in addition to the security that’s on scene, the bag checks that will be conducted and everything that will happen ahead of time.

[00:04:51] Fan Fest is the City of Eugene event, and that is solely our event. And we have a very strong footprint over there with officers. We have our Guardian Trailer over there with cameras, an overview into the entire venue. We also have a SWAT team activated to provide protection detail over there.

[00:05:11] And we also have detection and mitigation of devices. So Fan Fest is well-secured—there’s a six-foot fence around it. If none of you have been over to look at Riverfront Park and how it’s set up for Fan Fest, it is amazing. It’s amazing how they dropped the flags off the steam plant and how cool it looks.

[00:05:30] This is just such a real neat event. It’s such a showcase for this city. I just can’t say enough about it. Now understand, I’m pretty excited because this has been my life for a year, so I’m happy to see it come to fruition. And then there’s the downtown and the other popup events, which we have staff secure too.

[00:05:45] So Councilor, I’ve probably overexplained in answering your question, but we have a strong law enforcement presence here within the city to secure all these events.

[00:05:55] John Q: Eugene typically helps the University Police under a mutual aid agreement, but this was a contract event. Deputy Chief Shawn Adams.

[00:06:03] Deputy Chief Shawn Adams: The World Athletic Federation has contracted with the U of O to run this event or the U of O with the event, vice versa. And so in order for the University of Oregon to fulfill this event, they have now actually contracted with us to provide security services.

[00:06:19] So what we’re doing with the University of Oregon in this event is not a mutual aid event, it’s a contracted event. So what happens is we’ve entered into a contract with the University of Oregon to provide X amount of services, and in return, they’re going to pay all our wages, so that at the end of everything, we should be out of pocket, no money for everything that we’re putting in over there.

[00:06:42] Now I will tell you right now we’re out of pocket tens and tens and tens of thousands of dollars already in man-hours just prepping for this. So something a little bit different with this one, commissioner, that we’re talking about a contracted event versus a mutual aid event.

[00:06:55] John Q: Residents have an important role in large-scale disasters as well. Sign up for alerts and connect with your nearby neighbors. The World Athletics Championships continue through next Sunday, July 24.

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