Behind the scenes

Security for Waste Management Phoenix Open is massive operation

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

With the grounds groomed, golfers ready and grandstands and makeshift suites set up, the Tournament Players Club of Scottsdale is ready for a big party. 

Scottsdale Police Commander Bruce Ciolli gave me a personal tour to show everyone that an army of law enforcement is ready to keep the Waste Management Phoenix Open safe.

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“You never know who's watching you from a multitude of local, state, federal agencies,” explains Ciolli.  “We also have a very robust camera system. We have a surveillance system that has numerous cameras along the course as well as the Birds Nest."

Ciolli, along with his counterpart at the Scottsdale Fire Department, Division Chief John Whitney, manage the massive security operation.

“There are definitely some sleepless nights in preparing at times, but the key is the team we have working out here on the police and fire side,” says Whitney, who says planning for next year’s WMPO will begin a week or two after this year’s event ends on Sunday.

Ciolli and Whitney gave Arizona's Family an inside look at one the command posts on the grounds, where Scottsdale police and fire leaders sit right across from each other. They monitor all the activity at the Open via radio, computer and cameras that cover every square inch of the event. 

Additionally, they have a lot of help from the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and even the U.S. military, along with officers from all over the Valley.

[FAST FACTS: The Waste Management Phoenix Open presented by the Ak-Chin Indian Community]

[INFOGRAPHIC: 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open]

“From canine officers to explosive ordinance device technicians, motors, bicycle units mounted units, etcetera,” says Ciolli, "we will also utilize plainclothes officers and detectives throughout this whole area. So you never know who may be sitting next to you, a fan or an officer.”

Police set up an area to process and hold anyone who is arrested and needs to be taken to jail.

[I]t's a safe zone before fans even get into the event.

Also, the Fire Department has a makeshift treatment center right on-site; it's a partnership with the Mayo.

“In past years, we've ended up shutting down local hospitals based on the influx of patients that we brought from this location. This allows us to treat on-site more patients to avoid hospitals going on diversion,” explains Whitney, who says often patients are taken here when paramedics see high levels of alcohol intoxication.

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Besides typical issues law enforcement may face at the TPC, the mass shootings and terrorist acts seen across the country are top of mind.  Without giving away tactics, Ciolli says they've prepared and trained for any scenario.

“We've really done a lot to hard close the exterior of this event for traffic. We try to secure it all the way out. So it's a safe zone before fans even get into the event,” states Ciolli. “We really try to lock down this event.”

[READ MORE: ‘Sky’s the limit’: Phoenix Open happy to keep growing]

Additionally, Whitney says hazardous materials experts from the Fire Department are constantly monitoring the air for any gasses or chemicals.

Even with all the resources, public safety leaders are also asking for the public’s eyes and ears, asking fans that if they “see something, say something.”

Inside the WMPO event. the following is being utilized for notifying authorities about suspicious activity: Text: “Fore” and then the message to 69050. Tips will go the Command Post. Click/tap here to send a text from this story on your mobile device.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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