Police spend months planning security for annual St. Jude marathon

(Photo: WKRN)

There are multiple videos inside this story. Click here to watch from the News 2 app. 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Getting ready for an event like the St. Jude Rock and Roll Marathon doesn’t happen overnight.

Six months ago, the Nashville Police Department started planning for the event.

“This one is a big deal, this is our biggest event of the year,” Lt. David Leavitt said.

The event grows each year, which means security does too.

“The Boston Marathon bombing changed things, the way we do things, like special events and especially this event. A lot of preparation goes into these events,” explained Lt. Leavitt.

Some of those preparations went into place weeks ago, like four new cameras along the marathon route.

Those cameras are all constantly monitored by a specific team. People at the marathon may also notice more police officers on patrol, about 600 will be working the event in long shifts.

“Some of which you’ll see working traffic and security, but some of which you won’t see, who are behind the scenes,” Lt. Leavitt said.

Some typically normal sights around town also may seem out of place.

“We do a lot of things on the front end to prepare, such as removing all trash cans and newspaper receptacles throughout the route because those are places people could plant a device or something of that nature,” he said.

Also new this year for the marathon is new barriers.

“We are looking to add some vehicle barriers in some strategic areas,” Lt. Leavitt said. “We’ve watched some recent events across the country where people have tried to drive vehicles into crowds of people so we are using more of the vehicle barrier strategy.”

Extra security can sometimes be an inconvenience, but making sure this massive event is safe is a top priority.

“Our hope is people come to this event and they simply enjoy this event. That they don’t think about the security measures and what the police are doing, they just focus on the marathon,” he said.

Anyone who sees anything unusual or suspicious should call their “See something, say something” tip line at 615-880-1515.