LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville police are asking Kentucky Derby visitors to be vigilant on race day and on the lookout for unattended items in the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, though officials said Tuesday they are not planning major security upgrades.
Police will have about 1,200 officers out in force for the Derby and Kentucky Oaks, which is the Friday before the May 4 Run for the Roses.
Louisville Police Maj. Kelly Jones encouraged racing fans to alert officers of any suspicious-looking items left unattended. He said the Boston Marathon bombings have raised the public's awareness of potential attacks.
"I think it's reminded the public to have a heightened sense of awareness," Jones said Tuesday at a news conference with police at Churchill Downs.
Jones encouraged fans to alert a police officer if they see an item that has been "sitting around for a while and no one's claimed it."
Backpacks and duffel bags are among the list of items banned at the track on Oaks and Derby days. Other banned items include purses taller or wider than 12 inches, luggage, tents, coolers and weapons.
Churchill Downs President Kevin Flanery said there will be increased staff at entrance gates to check belongings, and security staff members will use metal-detecting wands.
Police officials and Flanery expressed confidence in the response plans that are already in place. Jones said there has been no directive from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or the FBI on how to conduct security on the day of the event, which attracts tens of thousands of people to the historic track.
"A lot of the plans we have in place are just rolling forward because we've got a great team has thought out this process for a number of years," Flanery said.
Police also have a post-Derby traffic plan, but it won't be implemented unless it's needed, said Police Lt. Todd Kessinger.