The Edmond Sun

May 30, 2014

U. S. Senior Open security plan 2.5 years in the making Event kicks off July 7 at Oak Tree National

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — More than 140,000 spectators are expected to attend to the U.S. Senior Open July 7-13 at Edmond’s Oak Tree National.

Additionally, the site will host 156 professional and amateur golfers, event staff, volunteers and media organizations. A sizable law enforcement presence including personnel from the Edmond Police Department, Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Oklahoma Highway Patrol will be in the area as well.

Plans are in the works to ensure they all arrive and leave safely, said Police Maj. Tim Dorsey, the Edmond Police Department’s deputy chief of police.

United States Golf Association Championship Director Jeff Ewing said planning regarding traffic and security issues began two and a half years ago with city and other relevant personnel. They include various City of Edmond personnel.

“This truly is a joint operation,” Ewing said.

Ewing had high praise for local officials, calling their efforts one of the most impressive he’s seen during his 13-year tournament-related career.

Dorsey said last year the USGA sent him to the site of the 2013 U.S. Senior Open in Omaha, Neb. He met with counterparts there and they talked about what worked and lessons learned.

Another plus for Edmond is having personnel, including himself, who experienced the 2006 Senior PGA Championship at Oak Tree, Dorsey said.

“We didn’t have too many problems there like traffic,” he said. “I think we had a pretty good plan in place.”

If public intoxication, for example, becomes an issue, the Police Department will deal with them, Dorsey said.

Dorsey said the city will share some of the personnel-related costs with the USGA. Some Edmond officers will be staffed as part of their normal duty assignment. If additional personnel are needed, the USGA will pick up the tab, Dorsey said.

“We can’t donate 60 officers a day for eight hours each,” Dorsey said.

Having state troopers and county deputies will help take some of the staffing burden off the Police Department, Dorsey said. During the event, the Police Department will not sacrifice enforcement efforts elsewhere, he said.



THE WEATHER FACTOR

Dorsey said the event will occur during one of the hottest stretches of the year, so heat-related stress will be one of the primary concerns.

The average first 100-degree day for Oklahoma City is July 9, according to the National Weather Service. In 2012, the thermometer high 103 hit on June 25. And the city’s hottest July temperature on record — 110 degrees — occurred on July 6 and July 9.

Brian Davis, chief of emergency medical services for the Edmond Fire Department, urged spectators to begin hydrating before they depart for the course, where two ambulances will be on standby and several golf carts will be responding to any issues that arise.

Davis urged spectators to wear comfortable shoes, a hat, loose-fitting clothing, to try to stay away from alcohol, to limit caffeine intake and to use adequate sunscreen. It also will be important to pace yourself, Davis said.

Normally, during daily activities your body will lose 4 liters of fluid, according to EMSA, the Emergency Medical Services Authority. This is generally replaced by the fluid you drink and the food you eat. However, different factors, such as exercise, sweating, temperature or altitude can significantly increase the amount of fluid required to sustain your normal body temperature.

Dorsey said another concern is the possibility of severe weather occurring during the week-long event, including practice rounds. Organizers will be monitoring the weather.



EVENT STAFFING

Dorsey said in addition to sheriff’s office deputies and OHP troopers, about 60 Edmond officers will be spread out at various posts near or on golf course areas across two shifts.

They will be split into a traffic group, with officers manning posts at strategically selected street locations, and a security group, Dorsey said. The first shift will begin at 6 a.m. and end at about 2 p.m. The second will begin at about 1 p.m. and end at 8 p.m., Dorsey said.

“The busy times are going to be early in the morning and especially late in the afternoon in particular on Saturday and Sunday,” he said. “We have planned and we’ll have people in place to get them out of there quickly. If we see a problem developing, we’ll handle it before it turns into a big problem.”

Planning considerations included determining a public safety parking area for law enforcement officers, meeting space, related electricity needs, restrooms, food and liquids, Dorsey said.  

Ewing said rules implemented for the event are designed to keep the event running smoothly. Some key rules include:

• Complimentary public parking will be at the northeast corner of the Kelly-Waterloo Road intersection.

• Cameras will be permitted July 7-9 only. The limit is enacted to reduce potential distractions while players are competing, Ewing said.

• Two first aid stations will be located on event grounds with medical care provided by INTEGRIS Health.

• Prohibited items will include laptop or full-size computers, noisy electronic devices like mp3 players, backpacks, briefcases or bags larger than 6 inches wide by 6 inches high by 6 inches deep, no food and/or beverages except for medical or infant needs, no containers and/or coolers except for medical or infant needs and no pets.

• Parents with small children are allowed to bring strollers and diaper bags if needed. These items will be subject to reasonable inspections before entering and/or at any time during the event.

• A lost and found area and a “will call” facility will be located at the main entrance.



marks@edmondsun.com | 341-2121, ext. 108