Bomb sniffing dogs part of new security at Cooper River Bridge Run

Updated: Mar. 18, 2014 at 12:08 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Runners and walkers in this year's Cooper River Bridge Run are going to have more eyes eyes on them than usual.

Cops, more than ever before, from local, state and federal agencies will be out in full force, surrounding the festivities in Mt. Pleasant, downtown Charleston and North Charleston.

The heightened security is in direct response to last year's attack at the Boston Marathon.

Officials say participants can also expect to see bomb sniffing dogs at the race.

"We have had questions in the past, 'well why the big change?' We don't want for an incident to happen," said Mt. Pleasant Police Major Stan Gragg. "It's almost twice the size of Boston Marathon, so the possibility, susceptibility of an incident is high. You have to plan for that."

That means runners and walkers should expect police presence before, during and after the race.

They will have to pass a police officer, and South Carolina National Guardsman just to get inside the starting line on Coleman Boulevard.

"There's gonna be more strict control getting into the corrals, the starting corrals this year," Gragg explained.

Costumes will not be banned, but cops have a request for anyone who wears one.

"We are encouraging people not to wear anything that covers their face for obvious reasons," Gragg said.

They also are encouraging runners and spectators to report anything that appears to be suspicious.

"I think Boston was the one that coined the phrase, if you see something, say something," said Gragg.

Police warn the heightened security is here to stay, for all big public events.

"Times have changed. The world has changed. We got to look out for the safety and security for everyone that's involved, whether it's the participants or people that are working or volunteering for this event," said Gragg.

Police are encouraging participants to bring clear bags to carry their items. Otherwise, they will be subject to a search.

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