Tampa, FL -- Las Vegas may be 2,000 miles from Tampa, but the shockwaves from the mass shooting at an outdoor concert there are already being felt at the Tampa Police Department.
The department is no stranger to safeguarding big events, “But we would be foolish not to sit down and take a look at what transpired out there,” said Chief Brian Dugan, “And figure out how we can prevent that.”
Chief Dugan says the first thing this morning, he and other top commanders were already brainstorming about what - if anything - they could do to improve security.
In just the next few days, there will be several outdoor events in the Tampa Bay area, including a monthly outdoor concert this Thursday in Curtis Hixson Park. The downtown Tampa venue is surrounded by high-rise residential towers and office buildings.
A short distance from that? Amelie Arena, where, this Friday the home opener will take place with thousands of fans gathered in what they call the plaza area. It too, surrounded by tall buildings.
And just a few miles away, the Mid Florida Credit Union Amphitheater will on Wednesday, host thousands of people attending a Jack Johnson concert.
The outdoor venue is directly across the interstate from the Hard Rock hotel and casino.
“It's very open. Very open, that's going to be scary,” said Mickey Burt, a local resident. “I don't know what they can do.”
Trip Alderman said it wouldn’t change his plans to visit Curtis Hixon Park events, “but it definitely makes you a little hesitant, to be honest with you,” he said.
It doesn't just have the public thinking about safety. It's clearly on the mind of law-enforcement too.
“I can guarantee you that the next few events security is going to be more beefed up. They're going to have more security provided for those events like that,” said Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office firearms expert, Roland Corrales.
Corrales says they constantly train for active shooter situations, but most if not all have been at ground level.
“And I can almost guarantee by the next couple of weeks we will have some sort of scenario that the deputies are going to have to deal with to teach them to try to look up. To try to see those kinds of things,” said Sgt. Corrales.
Still, law enforcement can only do so much. They urge the public to be vigilant. Have fun. But have a plan.
“We are going to help you. OK?” said Corrales, “But you need to have your own plan in place to try to protect yourself and your family the best that you can.”
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