Kansas City police have prepared for a year to host the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, which is returning to the city for the first time in 40 years, according to a report from The Associated Press.
City officials have spent several months coordinating with local, state and federal agencies and the U.S. Army to make sure tens of thousands of baseball fans who come to the city will be safe, the article says.
A delegation of K.C. officers traveled to Phoenix last year to observe security at the 2011 All-Star Game, and the department has been testing its security plan at the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade and during an April exercise in Kauffman Stadium, the site of Tuesday’s game.
Kansas City police have worked with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, FBI, Department of Homeland Security and several other agencies to create its game plan, AP reports. Maj. Rich Lockhart, who is leading the Kansas City department’s security efforts, said the University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies at Fort Leavenworth, which normally reviews battle plans for the U.S. Army, has examined the security plan and found it to be sound.
Unlike last year's game in Phoenix, where most events were consolidated in a fairly tight geographical area downtown, Kansas City is playing host to activities scattered around town, including in some impoverished neighborhoods where residents say it's best if outsiders are gone by dark, the AP article reports.
Bill Bordley, vice-president of security and facility management for Major League Baseball, said he's worked with local police for eight months on making preparations, and that hosting out-of-towners at youth baseball and softball games in Kansas City's inner-city neighborhoods for the Jr. RBI Classic will not mark the first time Major League Baseball has reached out to a city's urban core, the article says.
If the city needs more pointers on how to keep massive All-Star Game crowds safe, it doesn't have to look farther than St. Louis, which hosted the Midsummer Classic three years ago, AP reports. Three World Series have been played in the city in the past 10 years.
Capt. Jerry Leyshock, a 32-year veteran of the St. Louis Police Department who has been in charge of the police detail at Busch Stadium for a decade, said pickpockets and counterfeiters pose some of the biggest problems at such high-visibility events, according to AP.
Leyshock said he hasn't been involved in Kansas City's preparations, but is sure some of the measures in place are the same used in St. Louis and other cities.
"There will be plenty of undercover officers, and plenty of federal support," Leyshock said. "The biggest thing will be to have uniformed officers everywhere. You want a big show of visibility. People should see a police officer on every other corner, if not every corner."