CLEVELAND -- Efforts to keep athletes and visitors safe at the Gay Games may be the most sweeping and comprehensive security and emergency plan in Northeast Ohio history.
Events will be held in Cleveland, Akron and multiple locations in several counties.
Cleveland Police are in charge. Federal, state, county and local law enforcement agencies are all participating and at the ready. Seven to eight thousand athletes supported by twenty to thirty thousand visitors from all over the world will mean massive event.
Gay Games Board Member Steve Sokany said, "There's been a lot of time and energy gone into this... about 18 months of planning... I think we've anticipated everything. But if some wants to do something we will be ready to respond to that."
Cleveland Police spokesman Ali Pillow said, "It's a pretty big plan. It's a multi-layered plan there are a lot of agencies involved."
The FBI's on the team. Agent Donna Cambeiro said, " We will be working very close with Cleveland PD. We will have a presence in the command post."
The plan includes helicopters, bomb sniffing dogs, mounted police and surveillance cameras. The Red Cross and area hospitals are on standby. Emergency disaster drills have prepared them for this.
Red Cross spokesperson Christine Moran said, "We are prepared in case there is a disaster event...We would need to open a shelter in case there's some kind of mass casualty situation but we're hoping that does not happen."
Moran also said this week will have longer range value.
"This is a great exercise for us gearing up for the Republican convention," she observed.
Sokany called the goal to make this the safest Gay Games ever.
"From the department of Homeland Security to everyone else, they're keeping a pulse on things," he said.
Police are urging those attending and taking part in the games to follow the watchword, " If you see something, say something,"
In addition to 9-1-1, there is a state number to call 1-877-647-4683 to report suspicious activity.
And there is an app through the state that authorities are urging us all to install, learn more about it HERE.
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