HOUSTON - More than eight months after Houston hosted the Super Bowl, the Bayou City is once again hosting one of the biggest sporting events in the world as the Astros compete in the World Series.
Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a press conference on Thursday that planning for security and traffic control started before the series’ first pitch was thrown.
Turner said the plan will be like the ones implemented during the Super Bowl in February and the 2016 Final Four, including activation of the Emergency Operations Center to allow multiple departments and law enforcement agencies to work together under one roof.
“This is what we do,” said Chief Art Acevedo of the Houston Police Department. “This is what we live for, this is what we train for, this is what we exercise for.”
Chief Acevedo says there will be plenty of officers, both in uniform and plainclothes, plus surveillance and a security plan to deal with potential threats from surrounding high rises.
The chief urged Houstonians to carry their phones with them and not to hesitate to call 911 if anything seems out of the ordinary.
“What you would consider in an airport to be suspicious, consider that suspicious in a public venue, especially during the next few days when we have folks,” said Chief Acevedo.
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says he’ll have bomb-sniffing dogs searching the stadium grounds and deputies staffing a 30-foot-high observation tower outside.
The sheriff also plans to put more deputies on the roads going to and from the ballpark looking for drunk drivers.
Chief Sam Peña of the Houston Fire Department said his department will have four extra ambulances, rescue units, a Hazmat unit, and more staffing downtown.
He says that includes inspectors at Minute Maid Park for crowd control. Chief Peña promises response times in other parts of town will not suffer.
The city leaders at Thursday’s press conference at City Hall urged anyone heading downtown to carpool or take the MetroRail, which has stops on the Green and Purple lines within two blocks of the stadium.
Agency officials say people taking the train to the game will ride for free.
Chief Vera Bumpers of METRO Police said the agency will have extra personnel on hand, and transit riders can use the agency’s app to automatically text police if they see something suspicious or need help.