FBI will be closely watching Derby Festival events - WDRB 41 Louisville News

FBI will be closely watching Derby Festival events

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Local FBI headquarters in Jeffersontown, Ky. Local FBI headquarters in Jeffersontown, Ky.
Special Agent Howard Marshall with the Louisville Division of the FBI says the recent terror attacks in Brussels are a reminder that the threat is real. Special Agent Howard Marshall with the Louisville Division of the FBI says the recent terror attacks in Brussels are a reminder that the threat is real.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- More than a million people will attend Derby Festival events this year.

That's why the Louisville division of the FBI is working on a plan to keep everyone safe.

The majority of those people will be at Churchill Downs for Oaks and Derby. There will be the obvious extra police presence, but the FBI will also be watching the crowds.

"I know they make a lot of money. Derby is probably the biggest event that makes a lot of money in Kentucky," said Rashika Babalade.

Rashika Babalade and Sonai Matthews are applying for jobs at Churchill Downs. They're hoping to cash in on the large crowds and get their hands on some that Derby Festival money.

"The planning is really a 365-day event," said Howard Marshall, Special Agent in Charge of the Louisville FBI division.

The year-round planning included joint training with other police agencies, including LMPD. The most recent was an active shooter training held earlier this month at Slugger Field.

Marshall explained, "So the people who are most integral to successfully resolving a potential active shooter situation or an act of terrorism, they know each other and they've worked together before."

Marshall said the recent attack at a Brussels airport is a reminder that terrorism is alive.

"The environment that we live in is not the same environment many of us grew up in," Marshall said. "These events were always things that happened overseas and were not connected to the United States; well, that doesn't exist anymore."

Marshall's advice is to go ahead and enjoy the Derby Festival or make some extra cash, but keep an eye on one's surroundings.

"I feel much safer knowing that. It gives me more to look out for, to be aware of my surroundings. I don't want to be looking behind my back while I'm trying to work," said Babalade.

If you see or hear anything suspicious, the FBI wants to hear from you.

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