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Vancouver tackles security at the Olympics

The Olympics brings together large crowds and a huge international audience to the world stage — an irresistible opportunity for anyone wanting to make a public statement. Terrorism was first visited on the Olympics at Munich in 1972 and fears it would happen again escalated after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Today, security measures include bomb squads, surveillance cameras, metal detectors and armed guards, to name but a few.

The 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games are still one year away and already the police and military are beginning to practise security operations. The massive undertaking of securing the Olympic venues in Vancouver and Whistler by land, air, and sea have led to dramatic increases in costs. As recently as 2007, the budget for security at the 2010 Games was $175 million, but in this 2009 CBC-TV report, the total bill is predicted to hit $1 billion
• The Vancouver 2010 security staff of approximately 16,000 will be made up of personnel from the RCMP, municipal police and Canadian Forces from across Canada as well as private-sector security guards. • Security tasks will include searching for underwater explosives, dog handling, monitoring for nuclear threats, metal detector operation, bag checking, managing airspace, ski patrol, crowd control, athlete security, surveillance and more.

• Every Olympic Games attracts its share of demonstrations. In a 2007 CBC Radio interview, RCMP assistant commissioner and head of the Integrated Security Unit for 2010 Olympics, Bud Mercer, said it is the responsibility of security staff to facilitate peaceful protest and to provide a safe venue for demonstrators.

• Just south of the border, in Bellingham, Wash., over 50 U.S. agencies have developed a security plan that covers anything from a public health emergency to a chemical spill to a terrorist attack. If asked, they will cross the border to help.

• Active security operations for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics span a 60-day period, from the pre-Games set-up to the conclusion of the Paralympics on Mar. 21, 2010.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Feb. 11, 2009
Guest(s): Jen Allan, Rosemin Jutha, Gregor Robertson, Jacques Rogge
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Chris Brown
Duration: 2:23

Last updated: May 24, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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