Security will tighten at church sites during Olympic Games

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    By Erin Johnson

    Visitors to Temple Square during the 2002 Winter Olympics will have to walk through metal detectors and have their bags searched.

    Officials from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said the measures are necessary to make visitors feel safe and welcome.

    “The safety of visitors and volunteers at church headquarters facilities is always a foremost concern,” church spokesman Dale Bills said Tuesday.

    “We want to be good hosts and make visitors feel welcome. We have every reason to ensure that church sites are safe and secure. In light of the Sept. 11 attacks, security procedures have been carefully reviewed and enhanced.”

    The increased security at Temple Square will include magnetometers at all four entrances and inspection of all handbags and closed containers.

    Increased traffic and parking control measures will also be implemented, and selected vehicles will be inspected before entering parking garages, Bills said.

    In addition, medical response capability will be increased and security staff will be supplemented with additional trained volunteers.

    The new security measures will be applied to all church buildings in Salt Lake City, including the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, the Conference Center and Church Office Building.

    Standard security devises such as video cameras and sound detectors will continue to be used during the Games.

    Church officials are working on a committee of private security agencies in cooperation with the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command to ensure safety during the Games.

    Presiding Bishop H. David Burton is heading up the security measures for the church. He said he hopes the security will be as non-obtrusive as possible. Church officials do warn, however, that the metal detectors and bag checks could make access to church areas more time consuming.

    “These measures will mean that entrance to our buildings will take more time,” Bills said. “We”ll need everyone”s patience and support as we work together to be safe and secure.”

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