Lansing amps up security for Silver Bells in the City

Posted at 7:07 AM, Nov 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-17 07:30:55-05

The warmer weather means this year's Silver Bells could see a record crowd, that has organizers adding more security to make sure everyone stays safe.

Organizers say more than 100,000 people are expected to come to downtown Lansing for the state's official start to the holiday season.

"You're basically taking the entire population plus of the city of Lansing and cramming them into the downtown area," said Lansing's Emergency Manager Chief Mike Tobin. "In this day and age, any time we have that type of large crowd gathering we always have to think of those scenarios."

Tobin will be running security out of Lansing's Command Center, where he can reach all the officers on the streets as well as surveillance cameras across the city.

Even though there's no threat, Tobin says it's all about planning for what could happen, something his team started months ago running practice drills

"One of the first scenarios we ran was identical to what happened on Bastille Day in France a year ago of someone driving a vehicle into the crowd and running over people, no weapon other than the vehicle," Tobin explained. "Then we looked at for example if someone had IED's in a crowd how that would affect how people would disperse."

Knowing the warmer weather could mean bigger crowds organizers are asking people to plan ahead.

"I think the best thing to do is get down early especially if you want to stake out a really good spot along the parade route," said Mindy Biladeau, who coordinates Silver Bells.

And officers are doing their part so families can focus on the show.

"You are going to be safe at Silver Bells." Tobin said. "Come down enjoy the weather and you can say next year I went to Silver Bells in shorts."

Silver Bells runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday night.