Haverford Police Deputy Chief John Viola has a huge job in the days leading up to the U.S. Open Golf Tournament. He's Haverford Township's point man for public safety for the U.S. Open.
In the hours immediately after the Boston Marathon bomb attacks Monday, he, Township Manager Larry Gentile, and U.S. Golf Association (USGA, the tournament's organizer) officials immediately began looking at every aspect of safety for the public and the players.
Viola tells Patch that for now plans are moving ahead as envisioned, but that every aspect of the security plan is getting another careful look.
- Haverford Township Announces Updated Street Closings Plan for U.S. Open. Read the story on Haverford Patch.
Viola and Gentile both point out that the U.S. Open starts from a much different place in terms of access. The Boston Marathon is run on public streets and the general public has access to the finish line. The U.S. Open requires spectators to have tickets and all ticket holders will be checked for weapons with metal detecting wands before being allowed onto the Merion Golf Club course.
Massive Security Already Planned for the U.S. Open
There will also be bomb-sniffing dogs deployed and about 350 police officers are being called in from all over Delaware and surrounding counties. Federal agents will also be deployed. That has been part of the plan all along.
As the investigation in Boston continues and more information is known Haverford Police, township administrators and the USGA will have ongoing conversations as they have already. Viola says "we will make changes as needed."
Focus, For Now, is on Boston Victims
Deputy Chief Viola spoke with Haverford Patch just before noon on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the bombings in Boston. He told Patch "we’re not making any changes at the moment but we will be taking a closer look at all aspects of security in conjunction with the USGA over the coming days. Right now, our (Haverford Township, Police, and the USGA's) thoughts and prayers are with the people of Boston and the victims."