Atlanta Police officers keep watch as runners make their way down Peachtree Street during the 48th AJC Peachtree Road Race, Tuesday, July 4, 2017, in Atlanta. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL
Photo: Branden Camp
Photo: Branden Camp

Expect tight security for AJC Peachtree Road Race

Local law enforcement agencies are beefing up safety measures for the 49th annual AJC Peachtree Road Race, which will draw tens of thousands of participants and spectators into the heart of Atlanta.

Some of the security you will see and some you won’t. Atlanta Police Department officers, both uniformed and in plain clothes, will be along the 6.2 mile course. Spectators can again expect to encounter security checkpoints at several points along the race route and are urged to either carry a clear bag — or no bag at all.

The world’s largest 10K, the Peachtree is a Fourth of July tradition. About 60,000 runners, walkers and wheelchairs are expected to brave the sweltering heat and humidity and charge down Peachtree Road from Lenox Square to 10th Street just outside of Piedmont Park. Nearly 200,000 spectators expected to turn out and cheer them on.

Runners will not be able to carry backpacks or other luggage on the course. Masks and costumes that are not form-fitting, as well as military equipment and drones, are also prohibited.

Runners cross the starting line during the 48th AJC Peachtree Road Race, Tuesday, July 4, 2017, in Atlanta. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL

Anything fans are carrying in a bag before the checkpoints will be searched and put into a clear plastic bag before they can approach the curb or go inside the finish line area.

The MARTA police department’s emergency preparedness unit is ramping up security this year to supplement the efforts of APD. It will deploy its 45-foot command vehicle for the event. The vehicle will allow the MARTA Police staff to “have enhanced communications and command-and-control response capabilities during any major operation,” Corporal Brian Lauda said.

Lauda said that MPD has also adopted a “layered security technology program that includes chemical & radiological detection capabilities, as well as, 15,000 cameras that monitor our transit system in real time.”

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“MARTA Police will monitor those cameras from its new Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which serves as the hub of MARTA’s incident command system” he said.

“Intelligence gathering and cybersecurity will also play a very active role in the preparations.”

Police encourage spectators and runners to download the See & Say app prior to the Peachtree Road Race.

1989: Crowds pack into a MARTA train the day of the Peachtree Road Race, July 6, 1989.

“Several years ago, MARTA Police developed the See & Say app, which users can download for free from the App Store or Google Play Store,” Lauda said. “The app allows users to send information directly to the communications center in real time while remaining anonymous.”

The race will continue deploying its “Event Alert System,” which consists of large signs along the course that inform runners of the current weather conditions and risks. Green indicates good weather, while yellow and red signal worsening and potentially dangerous conditions, respectively. A black sign means the conditions are extreme and the race is canceled.

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