December 29, 2016 U.S. Secret Service agents will be among the 1500 federal, state and local law enforcement officers charged with securing the public at the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl in Pasadena this weekend. In light of recent terrorist attacks using large trucks as weapons — the focus of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has shifted to countering a similar attack here.
Both seen and unseen security measures will be added to the Rose Bowl Parade route and the Rose Bowl game on Monday, January 2, in response to the Berlin market attack last week that killed twelve people and injured dozens others. In a similar attack in July, a truck plowed into a crowd attending a Bastille Day celebration in Nice, France, killing 86 people and injuring hundreds more. In addition to the see through bag policy and enhanced searches of those in attendance, security measures at this year’s Tournament of Roses parade will include heavy, water-filled barricades at key crossings along the 5.5-mile parade route. In November, 2015, a security checkpoint prevented two suicide bombers from entering the Stade de France during a Germany-France soccer game, where 80,000 fans including French president Francois Hollande were cheering for their teams. Both suicide bombers detonated outside the stadium, saving many lives.
In September, a U.S Department of Homeland Security and FBI joint bulletin distributed to state and law enforcement agencies across the nation warned that terrorists or terrorist-inspired individuals may target sports venues The bulletin said homegrown ISIS-inspired individuals or groups have shifted their focus away from government and military targets to “soft targets” such as stadiums, arenas, concert venues and music festivals. A National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin issued on June 15, 2016 noted the uptick in terrorist-inspired and homegrown attacks on public events and public places like the recent attacks in San Bernardino, Paris, Brussels, and the nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Historically, terrorist groups have favored high-profile sporting events where hundreds or even thousands gather for entertainment and celebrations. The Olympics, football tournaments and cricket matches have been targeted, with varying degrees of impact and success since the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany. Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on American soil, the Department of Homeland Security has stressed the important role the general public plays in countering further attacks via the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign.
Cynthia Hodges holds a M.A. in Political Science from NEIU in Chicago, Illinois and a Post-Grad Professional Certificate in Disaster and Terrorism Management from University of North Carolina -Chapel Hill. In addition to a successful writing career, Cynthia is in the process of writing a book on the role of private security guards as first responders in the post 9/11 America. "My career has been a balance of security and education, and my passion for Homeland Security while protecting individual's Constitutional rights has grown as a result of the two."