FBI, National Guard join security team for Eugene Marathon
With the terrible events of Boston still fresh on everyone's minds, local police said security for the Eugene Marathon is going up several notches.
"We have no information to believe anything bad is going to happen, but that doesn't make any difference," said Lt. Sam Kamkar of Eugene Police, who is heading up the security team.
Police said that even with no intel indicating trouble, they aren't taking any chances. Extra law enforcement, both local and federal, are coming to the marathon.
"Most of the work that's being done is going to be in the background," Kamkar said. "We're going to have eyes and ears and looking for suspicious packages, suspicious behavior."
That includes a new team this year: the civilian support section of the Oregon National Guard. They were checking things out Tuesday at Hayward Field.
"God forbid if we had a bomb that went off, we can have a direct line to the President of the United States through that team," Kamkar said.
Other agencies include the FBI, a Portland Police dog team, the Federal Protective Service and the Springfield Police.
Kamkar said it will also be important for marathon fans to be vigilant and call 911 if they see suspicious behavior or anything out of place.
Teams will be enforcing many existing policies this year with a zero tolerance approach.
Police said that includes random checks of backpacks; any bags left unattended are subject to search and removal. Plus runners will quickly be ushered through the finish chute to the food area.
The cost for all this? Kamkar won't give a figure, but emphasized taxpayers won't have to foot the bill for the extra security. The marathon is picking up the tab.