LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Louisville police are not planning major security upgrades at this year's Kentucky Derby in the wake of the Boston terror attack, but they are asking track visitors to be vigilant on race day.
“This is not out first Oaks and Derby, and we will basically be following the same plan we’ve always followed,' Maj. Kelly Jones said.
Police will have about 1,200 officers out in force for the Derby and Kentucky Oaks, which is the Friday before the Run for the Roses.
Maj. Kelly Jones encouraged racing fans to alert officers of any suspicious-looking items left unattended. He says the Boston Marathon bombings have reminded people to "have a heightened sense of awareness."
Visitors are prohibited from bringing backpacks or duffels into the track area on the two days.
Churchill Downs President Kevin Flanery says there will be increased staff at entrance gates to check belongings.More people will also be subjected to magnetic wand screens. Many people who plan on going to the 139th Kentucky Derby say they don’t mind the added measures.
“Increased security measures you can’t really have too much security on an event where there are millions of people,” Elishia Durrett said. Jeff Wood added, “You always have to look at the fine line between giving up your freedoms for safety. In this case, I think its fine.”
Access to the Trackside on Poplar Level Road will be closed. Six deputies used for security there will move from that location to the backside for added presence. A groom was murdered in the backside last year on the night of Derby.
If anyone brings prohibited items they will be taken away and more than likely thrown in the trash. Officials will donate any items to charity if applicable.