Sacramento police said they will have a “heightened awareness” at Sunday’s California International Marathon, a result of the recent mass shooting in San Bernardino that left 14 people dead. However, overall security measures will remain unchanged for the race, which is expected to draw an estimated 50,000 people, organizers said.
“We are asking the community to be our eyes and ears,” said Officer Traci Trapani, a department spokeswoman. “If they see any suspicious packages or persons, notify an officer or call 911.”
After consulting with local and federal law-enforcement officials, race organizers felt confident that there were “no credible threats” to this year’s race, and have decided not to further augment security, said Ellen Moore, a spokeswomen for the marathon that starts near Folsom Dam and finishes 26.2 miles away at the state Capitol.
The Sacramento Running Association will pay for 100 police officers from various departments to provide security along the course. They will join other officers provided by police departments including Sacramento and Folsom, and the California Highway Patrol. The Sacramento Police Department said it will have 30 officers working the race beyond the 70 paid by the association.
“The SRA’s first priority in planning the CIM is public safety,” said race director Eli Asch.
Another 25 private security guards will work the race as well, Moore said.
Like other major races across the nation, the California International Marathon made changes to security after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Two men carried homemade bombs in backpacks and planted them near the finish line. The explosions killed three people and injured more than 250 others.
Continuing last year’s practice, the California International Marathon this year will employ bomb-sniffing dogs and transparent travel bags to try to prevent a similar attack, Moore said. The estimated 9,000 race participants will have to put their belongings in clear bags that will be transported by bus from the starting line to the finish line.
The dogs will check for explosives at the starting line, in the buses transporting the bags and at the finish line, Moore said.
Marathons in New York and Chicago have taken precautions beyond what’s being done in Sacramento. Those include restricting or barring spectators from the start and finish areas.
The Sacramento Running Association “does not recommend” spectators going to the starting line, as it will be crowded with runners and volunteers, but it does not prohibit it. Spectators are free to watch at the finish line at Ninth Street and Capitol Mall.
The Sacramento Running Association has been working on its security plan for 18 months, Moore said, and the day’s efforts will be coordinated by the CHP.
The overall security presence will include two law enforcement officials who are running the race. Folsom police Officer Eric Baade plans to run in uniform, including body armor, a duty belt and boots. He said he wants to raise awareness about officers who have been killed in the line of duty.
Tracy Youngstedt, a crime and intelligence analyst with the Sacramento Police Department, has run a marathon every month in 2015 in honor of Sacramento County sheriff’s Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer County sheriff’s Investigator Michael Davis Jr., who were killed in a violent crime spree in October 2014.