Designs for Oly security shared

National reps hear Leavitt's reassurance

Published: Thursday, Nov. 15 2001 5:22 p.m. MST

The cohesiveness between local, state and federal law enforcement for the 2002 Winter Games is what distinguishes the Salt Lake Olympics from others, Gov. Mike Leavitt told a security conference Wednesday.

The 150 people, representing national Olympic committees, including the U.S. Olympic Committee, and security officers from national and international corporations that are major sponsors of the Games, met in Salt Lake City this week to discuss security and the Games.

About 7,000 law-enforcement officers from 80 agencies will work during the Games, Leavitt said. One dollar of every four spent on the Olympics is used for security. And the federal government will provide additional manpower and money if needed.

"George Bush put it succinctly when he looked me in the eyes and said, 'I will be there and so will America,' " Leavitt said.

Leavitt said he knew a close relationship between law-enforcement agencies was essential for a successful Olympics, even before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It was a lesson he learned in 1996, when he asked the Georgia governor for advice during the Summer Games in Atlanta. And for the past four years, the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command has been planning for every incident it can imagine.

Since the terrorist attacks, a "good" security plan was made "better."

"We will have improved as a result of that tragedy," Leavitt said.

The Olympics are "an important human event because the civilized world has been assaulted," Leavitt said.

However, Leavitt didn't mention specific security measures, stating he didn't want to tip off "evil-doers."

"We obviously don't talk about it publicly," Leavitt said.

Also closed to the public are the conference's meetings where attendees learned "some security plans we (UOPSC) are going to commit," said FBI Special Agent Craig Phillippe.

The conference began Tuesday and will continue through Friday. It was planned before Sept. 11 and is routine before Olympic Games anywhere, Phillippe said. He said there was a similar conference in Atlanta a few months before its Games.

"It is appropriate to let the national Olympic committees know what kind of environment they're sending their athletes into," Phillippe said.


E-MAIL: lhancock@desnews.com

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