File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS The Calgary Stampede begins Friday and more than 100,000 visitors are expected daily.

More cameras, tight security at this year’s Calgary Stampede

CALGARY — There will be more security cameras, metal detectors and bag searches at this year’s Calgary Stampede.

Officials say there’s no concern about an attack — it’s just a matter of public safety.

“We’re mindful of other world events where other incidents have occurred … where harm has been done to people by vehicles and things,” Calgary police Insp. Paul Wyatt said Wednesday.

“It would be naive of us not to put measures in place to counter that.”

The 10-day exhibition and rodeo begins Friday and more than 100,000 visitors are expected each day.

Metal detectors and bag searches have become a regular routine for people entering the Stampede grounds. Last year, main entrances to the park were blocked by large cement planters to prevent possible vehicle attacks.

The number of cameras has been increased by 10 per cent this year to address some gaps in security, said Wyatt.

It’s not just the Stampede grounds that will be under surveillance. The parade on Friday, which attracts up to 350,000 people, has to be watched too.

“We have plans in place,” Wyatt said. “We hope we don’t have to use them, but we’re prepared.”

Wyatt is also asking the public to look out for anything suspicious. “Watch for unusual situations or items or if someone is acting strangely. And if you see something, please say something.”

The head of Calgary’s Emergency Management Agency says police, fire and EMS officials have run through several possibilities.

“We’ve run scenarios on the parade and we’ve run scenarios on the Stampede grounds. And I can tell you that we will be prepared and have the safest Stampede on record,” said Tom Sampson.

Visitors are urged not to bring anything onto the grounds that they wouldn’t take through airport security.

There are also new rules because this will be the first Stampede since recreational cannabis was legalized, said Jim Laurendeau, vice-president of park planning.

“There will be no consumption of cannabis in Stampede Park. However, as a legal item, people can carry it and it will not be confiscated at the gates.”

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