Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder said the goal was to stay engaged with the public, but not be overbearing.
"We want to be low profile and allow the race to be enjoyable. But we want to be close enough so we can respond if we need to," he said. "We want this to be a fun and safe event."
Unified police and South Salt Lake police quietly began setting up their command units in a high school parking lot mid-valley about 4 a.m. By 6 a.m., officers were dispersed all along the race route, both in uniform and street clothes.
"Some of those were very strategically placed for special assignments — explosives detection and mitigation. Instead of a call-out basis, we actually have them out on scene," Winder said.
Unified police had been creating its security plan for the marathon since November. Because of the bombing in Boston, the number of law enforcement officers working the event was increased by 10 to 15 percent during the past week.
But while bombs and explosives received the majority of attention this week, Winder said the more realistic safety concern was simply controlling traffic and keeping runners and motorists safe. Protecting runners from being hit by a car and helping motorists keep calm heads and get through blocked off roads were the biggest challenges of Saturday's marathon, he said. Not acts of terror.
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