Philly Police Speak on Public Safety After Las Vegas Massacre - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Philly Police Speak on Public Safety After Las Vegas Massacre



    Police in Philadelphia are learning anything they can from the tragedy in Las Vegas. There are some key measures Philly police do for large events such as using blow-out gates that officers can open to let large groups of people out. NBC10's Katy Zachry has more on the safety measures that are already in place.

    (Published Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017)

    Philadelphia police had a message for residents worried about what could happen if a mass shooter targetted the city. 

    "We look at every tip, every threat," Philadelphia police deputy commissioner Dennis Wilson said. "Our policing evolves as the threat evolves."

    Unlike civilians whose first instinct would be to flee, local police are trained to go towards the chaos, he said. 

    "They’re trained to listen for gunshots and go towards the gunshots and seek the shooter," he said.

    Philadelphia is a favorite destination for massive events such as the Democratic National Convention, Made in America music festival and even Pope Francis' U.S. visit in 2015. 

    Because the city attracts so many visitors every year, planning is paramount. Detectives visit nearby hotels and other popular attractions to coordinate with staff before major events take place. This open line of communication is essential to mapping an area and securing the perimeter, Wilson said.

    Social media is also crucial for law enforcement. Entire teams monitor possible threats via Twitter and Facebook and coordinate with local and national officials. Additional, Philadelphia police work with colleges and schools. 

    "We have a lot of layers in place for every large event," Wilson said.

    In June, Philadelphia City Council convened a committee on the prevention of gun violence, which will continue to hold hearings on programs and policies, identifying local and national best practices and engaging community leaders.

    More than 800 residents in the city have been the victims or witnesses to shootings in 2017, according to Philadelphia Councilman Darrell Clarke. 

    Clarke, who represents Philadelphia’s 5th District, said Sunday’s shooting is an opportunity for the nation to have a bigger conversation about gun regulations.

    “Like millions of Americans today, I am both heartbroken and angry,” he said. “I’m angry that the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world cannot muster the political will to regulate the manufacture, sale and trafficking of deadly weapons.”

    Flags throughout the nation and region were lowered to half-staff Monday to honor the more than 50 lives lost in Sunday’s Las Vegas massacre.

    “Philadelphia grieves with Las Vegas this morning,” Mayor Jim Kenney tweeted. “It’s an unspeakable tragedy for the hundreds of families impacted and for our nation.”