Believe it or not, security planning for the World Series in Kansas City began more than three years ago.
It’s not because of extraordinary prescience on the part of Kansas City police.
But the comprehensive plans created for hosting the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game gave the department a huge jump in getting ready for this year’s Fall Classic.
That 2012 plan, more than a year in development, has been dusted off for the series.
“That’s a good thing for us,” said Kansas City police spokesman Capt. Tye Grant. “We’ll have much the same response we had for the All-Star Game with some updates.”
Though police do not want to reveal details of the plan, they are confident they have the resources available to handle any contingency — from rowdy drunks to terrorist threats to pickpockets in the parking lot.
“It’s not like we don’t do this all the time,” Grant said. “We know what we’re doing.”
After all, the Royals play 81 home games every year, and security arrangements are adjusted depending on the size of the crowd expected, he said.
This year, police have had the added experience of working several Royals playoff games with huge crowds on a national stage.
Still, the World Series is one of those events that draws both national and international attention.
Security for this year’s World Series will be much different than the last time Kansas City was involved in 1985, said Jeff Lanza, a former FBI special agent and security consultant.
“Things have changed dramatically in 29 years,” he said.
Since then, law enforcement has learned from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the bombings at Oklahoma City, the Atlanta Olympics and the Boston Marathon.
This week, the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies are involved in security efforts. The FBI’s primary role is providing intelligence on any possible terror threats, Lanza said.
FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said the bureau would be active during the series, though always in support of Kansas City police. It will help cover a multitude of security-related tasks, Patton said. Intelligence and crime analysts will work during the games to evaluate threat information in real time.
Bomb technicians and members of the FBI’s SWAT and hostage-negotiation teams will be available to deploy quickly should the need arise.
“Obviously, we’ll have our assets there to support any need that would arise and to support and backfill the police department,” Patton said.
Though there will be a large, noticeable presence of uniformed officers in and around the stadium, much of the security work will be done behind the scenes.
“There’s a lot of stuff you won’t see,” Lanza said. “A lot of stuff you won’t hear.”
The Royals’ website notes that enhanced security measures put in place for the playoffs will remain for the series.
Among the security measures:
▪ Metal detector screening devices are used at all gates for the games.
▪ The stadium and surrounding facilities will be inspected each day by stadium security and law enforcement officers before the gates are opened to the public.
▪ All deliveries to the ballpark will be identified and inspected before they are accepted.
▪ Unauthorized vehicles will be prohibited from parking within 100 feet of the ballpark’s exterior, and parking lots will be inspected daily. Any unattended vehicles will be towed.
Coolers, large bags and large backpacks will not be allowed in the stadium. Only bags or backpacks measuring less than 16 inches long, 16 inches tall and 8 inches wide will be allowed, and all will be inspected.
“We would like to remind you that these enhanced security measures are for your safety,” a statement on the Royals website says. “We understand that this is an added inconvenience, however due to the nature of current world events, we feel they are necessary.”
Some items are banned from the stadium, including any drinks (except one sealed/unopened 1-liter or smaller water bottle per person), cameras with lenses more than a foot long, banners or flags with sticks in them, bullhorns and air horns, brooms longer than 4 feet and wrapped presents or gifts.
The planning that led to the half-inch thick All-Star Game security plan included a review by military officers from Fort Leavenworth as well as visits to other cities that had hosted major events.
Though police do not want to reveal how many officers are working the World Series, the security plan for the 2012 All-Star game involved about 500 Kansas City officers in some capacity, officials said at the time.
Officers from other local, state and federal agencies were involved then and are again.
In 2012, the city spent about $350,000 in security for the game and related events. The majority of that was for police overtime pay, and officials noted that the game security was handled without a reduction in police service to the rest of the city.
The security work that started in 2011 for the All-Star Game received kudos from a variety of sources, including an on-the-air shout-out from Fox Sports announcer Joe Buck.
“Kansas City law enforcement could not have done a better job,” Buck said.
Officials here don’t expect anything less in 2014.
“All of the work and planning is geared towards one thing,” Grant said. “A safe fan-friendly game.”
The Star’s Mark Morris contributed to this report.
To reach Tony Rizzo, call 816-234-4435 or send email to email@example.com.