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Berkshire Public Safety Workers Plan For Tighter Security at Summer Events

Shed at Tanglewood

Organizers of some of the Berkshires’ largest spring and summer events may take extra steps to enhance security.

Special events in the Berkshires this summer are expected to draw thousands of visitors to the region. And in the aftermath of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, event organizers and public safety officials are taking necessary steps to enhance or improve security.

Matt Linick, an organizer of the Memorial Day Marathon, said he expects the event to draw up to 1,700 people to the town of Lenox. Linick said that in preparation, he’s been meeting with public safety officials from across Berkshire County to review and gain a further understanding of the emergency response plans.

"It was important for us to coordinate with all the different agencies. Great Barrington, Lenox, Stockbridge, the Berkshire County sheriffs and the Massachusetts state police, as well as Berkshire Medical Center and County Ambulance," said Linick. "I think we as organizers have a better understanding of the emergency management plan, county-wide."

Linick said that security is also being coordinated for Summer Sound, a concert event that will be held on location after the running events. Linick, who said he was in attendance during the Boston Marathon attacks, said that he’s confident that public safety is prepared to coordinate in the aftermath of an attack scenario.

"In Boston a lot of the articles I've read from the event production side of it, it's really a matter to be coordinated and together after the fact," said Linick.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra emailed WAMC a statement on the preparations being made to ensure security throughout the season at Tanglewood in Stockbridge this summer. The statement reads in part, 

“Tanglewood is working closely with local and state police and the Berkshire County Sheriff's Department to develop enhanced security measures for this summer's concerts.  Since the Lenox and Stockbridge Police Departments are heading up the security issues at Tanglewood and elswhere in the Berkshires this summer, the BSO has no further comment on the subject."

Chief Wilcox of the Stockbridge Police Department could not be reached in time for broadcast, but town select chair Deb McManemy said she has full confidence in the police department and Chief Wilcox, who has been on hand to coordinate security at Tanglewood for the past several years.

"I've come to rely on him, we all have for his good judgement and his experience with the ins and outs of the whole Tanglewood season," said McManemy."

In April, in the days following the attacks in Boston, WAMC also reached out to Chief Michael Wynn of the Pittsfield Police Department. Chief Wynn said that he is considering using the Pittsfield July 4th parade, the year’s largest event in the City of Pittsfield, as an opportunity to train more public safety workers on crisis response. 

"For the last couple years we've been using the Fourth of July parade as an event and exercise for certain personnel, but I'm really inclined to use it as an exercise for more personnel and the surrounding communities," said Wynn.

Tens of thousands are expected to line the streets in downtown Pittsfield for the parade, one of the largest in the region.

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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