Don’t panic if you see what appears to be a chaotic police event at Fenway Park Sunday. Federal and city law enforcement officers will join US Army officials to simulate a terrorist attack at the fabled Red Sox field from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 12.
The Boston Police Department advises people to avoid the area, “as vehicular and pedestrian traffic will both be heavily impacted throughout the morning.” During the drill, Yawkey Way will be closed between Brookline Avenue and Boylston Street, as will Van Ness Street between Ipswich Street and Richard B. Ross Way.
The police say simulated explosions and gunshots during the drill should be inaudible, although a statement by the Red Sox warns that neighbors might hear some sounds.
“During the exercise, Boston Police, along with state and federal first responders, including members of Red Sox security, will react to various simulated scenarios meant to test preparedness and new technologies for large events in the City of Boston,” the Sox statement says.
Boston police say that antiterrorism tools, including working dogs, metal detectors, and drones, also may be used in the simulation, where law officers will role-play both attackers and first responders.
The Boston University Police Department “will be participating in the event with the Boston PD to assist with the exercise in various capacities,” says Thomas Robbins, BUPD chief.
Fenway has done safety drills before, Robbins notes, “but nothing to this scale, as far as I am aware. The exercise will encompass many agencies and scenarios, which will greatly assist in public safety preparedness.”
Besides Boston police, the drill involves the Department of Homeland Security and the Army’s Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center.
The Red Sox are playing against the Minnesota Twins this weekend in Minneapolis.
“The opportunity to participate in an exercise that tests preparedness and cutting-edge technologies in real time is a big advantage for us,” Charlie Cellucci, Sox director of security and emergency services, says in the team’s statement. “Fan safety is a topic we continually discuss and evaluate, and by participating in this exercise, led by Boston Police alongside state and federal agencies, we hope to gain valuable insight that may help enhance how we keep visitors safe at Fenway Park.”
Besides Sox games, summer in Boston brings such heavily attended events as the Boston Pops annual Fourth of July concert on the Charles River Esplanade. The city was the target of a terrorist attack three years ago during the Boston Marathon, when bombs were detonated, killing three people, including Lu Lingzi (GRS’13).