Oscars Brought Heightened Security Like Never Before
- By Ginger Hill
- Feb 23, 2015
Movies are a big player in the American culture as people swarm to movie theaters, purchase overpriced tubs of butter-drenched popcorn and sugary soft drinks before entering a twilight-lit room of fluffy chairs. Movie-goers quickly find their seats in great anticipation of seeing their favorite actors and actress on the big screen. The lights dim, sounds of popcorn crunching and slurps of soda can be heard as the flick begins.
Last night, the 2015 Oscar Awards was televised on most major, local television channels for all to see, and from the news this morning, it looks like it went off without any security issues. In most part, this is due to “Operation Oscar,” a state-of-the art, underground bunker with a makeshift command center at a Hollywood soundstage where the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) commander and a task force of approximately 1,000 officers from agencies like the FBI and Department of Homeland Security hang out. The area around Hollywood is divided into concentric rings that require progressively higher levels of protection, the closer you get to the inner circle.
Early morning on Sunday, February 22, 2015, the prep work began. LAPD officers performed a block-by-block sweep of the surrounding neighborhood and by 3pm, the streets surrounding Dolby Theater were locked down. Sharpshooters were positioned on top of buildings, and approximately 600 uniformed cops surrounded the perimeter of the facility.
Public modes of transportation were rerouted away from the target area and every vehicle entering the “red zone” were searched for possible bombs and/or guns. As guests arrived, they were ushered into a large tent that was located out of the sight of television cameras and there, celebrities and civilians passed through a metal detector. There were also undercover offices in formal wear mingling among the celebrities while other officers dressed in sneakers and L.A. Clippers hats patrolled the bleachers.
Here are some other tactics used to keep the Oscars ceremony safe and secure:
- Spotters used power binoculars to scan for suspicious activities.
- Hazmat unit patrols used sensors to check for radiation levels, and biological and chemical agents.
- Vapor wake bomb detection dogs were used by LAPD.
- Manholes were carefully inspected by police.
- A hazardous materials robot was on standyby, ready to respond if necessary.
- Concrete barriers were strategically placed across Hollywood Blvd. to slow down any kamikaze drivers.
- The Bomb Assessment Tactical Counter Assault Tool, BatCat, was on the scene in event an explosive vehicle was near. This machine can pick up these vehicles and relocate them to be detonated.
Ultimately, no security plan is perfect; however, the hope is to have effective contingency plans in place in the event the unexpected occurs.
Ginger Hill is Group Social Media Manager.