Local marathons could see changes following Boston Marathon attack

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INDIANAPOLIS – Local security plans are being upgraded in the wake of Monday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon. Most changes will seem subtle to the public, according to Public Safety Director Troy Riggs.

“If people are thinking they’re going to see a lot of different activities regarding law enforcement, firefighters at these events, they won’t,” Riggs said.

Runners, walkers and spectators at Saturday’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event may notice more uniformed police and K-9 security sweeps. Carmel police confirmed they will have additional officers working security around Saturday’s Carmel Marathon. A heavier visible presence is also planned for 500 Festival Mini-Marathon on May 4.

Riggs said other behind-the-scenes changes will probably go unnoticed by event attendees. Those will likely include more officers in plain clothes to keep an eye on the crowds. Other changes will include a new initiative to more closely monitor Twitter and other social media leading up to events. Riggs pointed out that Twitter was the most immediate source for information shortly after the Boston bombing.

“This is the first time that I was alerted to a tragic event, a terrorist event through Twitter,” Riggs said.

Trash cans were also scheduled to be removed from outside Bankers Life Fieldhouse before upcoming Pacers games and other events at the venue. Indianapolis Homeland Security Chief Gary Coons told Fox 59 the change was a joint decision between his department and Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The bombs in Boston were placed inside trash cans near the finish line.

Coons also said some trash cans may be moved around the main site of the Mini Marathon, but that decision had not yet been made.

As of Tuesday, additional security would not change the “open” feel of the Race for the Cure or Mini-Marathon. Participants and spectators should not expect to pass through security checkpoints or undergo bag searches. Riggs said that could change if new information from Boston made the measures appear necessary.

As always, safety officials are asking everyone heading downtown for events to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. That can seem like a daunting assignment when surrounded by tens of thousands of people, but anyone who sees a person leave a bag or backpack unattended should notify the nearest police officer or call 911.