Multiple police agencies staged to monitor the 4 entrances into Churchill Downs
A new parking and traffic plan and more than 100,000 people crowding into one location.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A new parking and traffic plan and more than 100,000 people crowding into one location. That can be quite a challenge, and it takes several police agencies to make sure Derby Weekend at Churchill Downs is drama-free.
There are four entrances at the track and a lot of security to make sure everyone enters and exits safely. Several layers of security protect fans on both Oaks and Derby days.
"It doesn't bother me a bit," said Jamie Angelich, who is in town from Denver for the races.
It starts at the entrances with the event staff, metal detectors, scanners and wands.
"It's just like going to a sporting event, so cell phone, wallet, keys: drop them in the bin, walk through the medal detector, and you're in, ready to go, said Rob King, who visited the track Friday for the Kentucky Oaks.
The event staff looks for restricted items or any signs of trouble, so going through security may take a few extra minutes this weekend.
"I'd rather be safe than sorry," Angelich said.
And on Friday, no one seemed to mind, especially those who do a little homework before going to the track.
"We knew what to expect," said Amy Phipps from Evansville, Indiana. "We read and learned, and Lori suggested that we bring a clear bag as we do in all the other large major sporting events, and so, here we are."
Once you've cleared the security screening, deputies from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office are in place.
"We are that show of support behind that level of security," Maj. Mike Littlefield said. "If we've got to take control of certain items or we have to handle a situation, that might arise."
This year, there were changes that made the police detail a little challenging.
"It is something totally different," said Lt. Jill Hume with LMPD's Special Events Unit.
A new parking and traffic plan and new main entrance take some getting used to. Several police agencies are on the job to make sure there are no issues.
"We have officers in plain clothes, and we have officers and staff monitoring cameras everywhere," Hume said.
For all our coverage from Churchill Downs this week, click here.
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