Gathering Place Security Plans For The Worst

<p>On any given day, thousands of people will be in the park. In preparing for park security Gathering Place plans for worst, but hopes for the best.</p>

Tuesday, September 4th 2018, 3:19 pm

By: News On 6

On any given day, thousands of people willl be in the park. In preparing for park security Gathering Place plans for worst, but hopes for the best. 

Park leaders have consulted the FBI, Homeland Security, the Tulsa Police Department and the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office. They've also looked at what places like SeaWorld and Six Flags are doing and taking the best of all of it, to help make people safe.

The park has a network of more than 100 cameras placed around the five and a half acres. The cameras will focus on the areas where the largest number of people gather, including parking lots and playgrounds for children.

They have 20 security officers who will both monitor the cameras as well as patrol the park.

"We always have, 24 hours a day, security," said Park Director Tony Moore. "Now, it'll be heavier when guests are in the park, but outside park hours, we'll have 24 hour security."

On normal days during peak season when no big event is scheduled, they'll  have one officer watching cameras and three to five in the park. On big event days, they'll add to that number with Tulsa police and private security firms. They've also coordinated training with TPD and the sheriff's office, so they can work all work in sync, together.

"So, we wil share radio codes and share radios. If it's an event where TPD is on site, that way, they can communicate with our team and us with them," said Josh Henderson, Vice President of Operations for Gathering Place.

Despite the fact there's more than 100 cameras in the park, they can't be everywhere and see everything - so it's still important that people who come here pay attention to their surroundings."

Park leaders want to strike a balance between having enough cameras to make people safe but, not so many that people feel spied on. Plus, they are training all 200 employees to have a mindset that if they see something, they should say something.

"Regardless of technology and policies and procedures, an active alert employee is your number one form of security," Tony Moore said.

The park will also be outfitted in certain area with bollards that were ordered from a company in Italy. Some of them will be able to go up and down automatically with the push of a button. Others will be operated manually, as the need arises.

The bollards will be placed at the main entrances, so they can be raised after hours and also in areas where lots of people would be gathered, so no one could drive through the crowd.

"It's kinda  morbid to have to think like that, but we think like that so people are safe when they come to our park," Henderson said. 

"And we try to anticipate what other people don't think of when they go out their door in the morning."

In addition to the two main entrances, there are 19 other ways to access the park from various trails. They have a lost child protocol in place. They also feel, safety is the responsibility of everyone, so lock your car doors, don't leave valuables visible in your car, keep your purse on you, keep an eye on your kids and be alert - as you would, anywhere. 

"Come out and enjoy your time at the park, behave yourself and just keep an eye out because there are people out there, who are sometimes up to no good," said Josh Henderson of Gathering Place.

There will be numbers posted in the park that you can call if you need help, but they say this is Tulsa's park, and if Tulsans treat it like their own, they expect problems to be at a minimum. 


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