Online Exclusive

Security Heightened At Charlotte Motor Speedway


Tens of thousands of race fans packed into the stands at Charlotte Motor Speedway Saturday night for the All-Star Race. Eyewitness News got an exclusive look inside the command center used to keep all of those fans safe.

Police asked Eyewitness News not to reveal where their Joint Operations Center is precisely located. It is a small space located near the track. Officers said the information gathered there is critical to keeping 100,000 people safe before, during, and after the race.

"Everything is in place, so you don't have to worry about calling resources in. You can control what you got," said Jim Sells, Concord's Emergency Management Director, who coordinates the command center.

There are about a dozen desks and laptops in the command center. It's staffed by a supervisor from the Concord Police and Fire Departments, state troopers, paramedics, and even an agent from the FBI.

"As part of our briefing we do before every race, they keep us up to date with any information that's coming out on the federal channels," Sells said.

Police said this is the first event in the Charlotte area with so many people since Bin Laden's death, and al-Qaeda's subsequent threats of retaliation.

"Obviously with the Bin Laden situation, it just created a new dynamic for us to keep abreast of," said Major Wendell Rummage, with the Concord Police Department.

Officers watched more than 30 cameras covering the track and surrounding areas. If they see a problem, they can communicate to first responders patrolling the area. That information is also posted on a protected network.

"Communication is everything. And this helps us track, and it helps us stay focused," said Rummage.

More than 60 Concord police officers worked the race, along with dozens of paramedics, troopers, and other first responders. Police said they'll likely respond to about two dozen fight calls during the race. Officers said it's the biggest single problem they face on race days.

The Joint Operations Center will also be up and running for next week's Coca-Cola 600 race.

Security Heightened At Charlotte Motor Speedway

Copyright 2011 by . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.