Officials with the city of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Marathon offered few new details about how they would ramp-up security for the May 5 at a news conference this morning and said they would figure out some of the financing at a later date.
Public Safety Director Michael Huss, declining to go into specifics, said there will be a larger police and paramedic presence on race day, as well as a K-9 units trained to sniff for explosives. He discouraged spectators from bringing backpacks or large bags to the race course and warned that they could be searched by authorities.
"We are working on an ever-evolving safety plan," he said. "There will be visible things you will be able to see and invisible thing that you can't see."
Security measures at Pittsburgh Marathon in spotlight
Officials discuss increased security measures to be taken at the upcoming Pittsburgh Marathon. (Video by Nate Guidry; 4/25/2013)
Take a five-minute trip along the Pittsburgh Marathon course
Luke Mohamed offers a runner's perspective of the 26.2-mile course for this year's Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon. (Video by Steve Mellon; 4/24/2013)
Sgt. Michael LaPorte, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 1, has said he was notified earlier this week that public safety officials were 120 officers short of the number they hoped would work the race.
Acting chief of administration Tom Stangrecki confirmed today that officers throughout the bureau will not be able to use pass days the day of the race. He said they were still working out whether officers would be paid at straight time or the higher rate for working a security detail.
Mark Bocian, acting chief of Emergency of Medical Services, said there would be additional paramedic units and volunteers from UPMC. He also said he had been in contact with paramedics from the Boston Marathon as they made preparations for race day.
Race director Patrice Matamoros said there will be a handful of changes to the marathon's format, including designating the start and finish line as runner's only areas with 6-foot fencing around the perimeters. Side streets to the Liberty Avenue start line will be open only to runners. Those areas had been available for spectators in the past.
She also said race officials would supply the runners with clear plastic bags if they want to check gear during the race.
Security also will be increased for events happening on May 4, including a kids' fun run and a 5K race. Ms. Matamoros said.
It still hasn't been determined how much the additional security measures will cost, or who will foot the bill. Tuesday, Ms. Matamoros said the non-profit organization that operates the race could be "bankrupt" if it were forced to bear the entire cost.
Officials said those determinations will be made after the marathon and suggested the possibility of marshaling federal resources to cover costs.
But Mayor Luke Ravenstahl reassured the public that the finances would be worked out.
"We are going to figure this out. We are going to have the proper number of public safety," he said. "The marathon is not going to go bankrupt."
Liz Navratil: email@example.com, 412-263-1430 or on Twitter @LizNavratil. Moriah Balingit: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-2533 or on Twitter @MoriahBee. First Published April 25, 2013 3:45 PM