Security nerve center established at secret spot
Share with others:
The G-20's top security officials yesterday unveiled their communications hub for the summit, a windowless room of 100 computers that links to electronic eyes and ears all over the Pittsburgh region.
The Secret Service, which is overseeing security plans, asked that reporters not reveal the location of the Multi-Agency Communications Center, or "the MACC," only describing it as a spot outside of Downtown Pittsburgh but still within city limits.
About 40 agencies will post high-ranking officials in the MACC round-the-clock during the summit, from 8 p.m. today until 10 p.m. Friday.
That includes representatives from the FBI, National Guard, Coast Guard, state police, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Allegheny County Police, Allegheny County sheriff's office and Pittsburgh police.
"All the decision-makers are together," said Robert Full, chief of Allegheny County's emergency management services. " ... You've got every shape of badge and every type of uniform."
Large wall screens will show maps of Pittsburgh and the surrounding area, and one screen will list a regularly updated "situation report," highlighting trouble spots.
"We try to look at the different scenarios that could occur, and we try to prepare for them," said Special Agent in Charge Ed Donovan, of the Secret Service's office of government and public affairs in Washington.
Preparations involve thousands of police and National Guard troops.
The Guard will have 2,500 personnel here during the summit, with many helping police maintain traffic restrictions throughout the region.
Diane Richard, spokeswoman for the Pittsburgh Police Bureau, said more than 60 police agencies had committed officers to the summit, although she declined to give an exact number.
"We'll have enough manpower to effectively do what we need to do," she said.
The biggest contingent will be 1,200 state police troopers.
Many have started to arrive from all over Pennsylvania and are sleeping on cots at three locations, including UPMC South Side, according to state police commissioner Col. Frank E. Pawlowski.
This month, nearly 600 troopers staged a massive training exercise in crowd-control techniques at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe.
The city has about 900 officers, and police Chief Nate Harper has said that he would like to have as many as 4,000 officers on hand for the summit.
"It's a fluid number," Ms. Richard said.
She said all officers will be wearing identification cards on their arms.
First Published September 23, 2009 12:00 am