Cleveland casino safety plan includes heavy police presence for opening

Casino safety top concern

CLEVELAND - Cleveland police and safety officials outlined Friday extra security measures going into place for the opening of the new casino Monday night.

Cleveland Police and casino managers asked for the public's patience during the first few months of the casino's opening. Officials are expecting a "bombardment" of visitors for the first three months.

As a result of the increase in people and traffic, Cleveland police will implement these changes for at least the first week to accommodate the surge:

- Activating the emergency operations center
- Command center bus will be parked outside casino
- Officers will be stationed at 14 intersections in the area of Public Square to direct traffic

Cleveland police said they will deal with aggressive pan-handlers accordingly, but do not want to violate people's rights to be at Public Square. Officers received training to help them deal with people who have mental health issues.

Officers will also enforce jaywalking laws in the area and crack down on any parking violations, as they try to keep things moving. Any cars parked illegally will be towed.

Police officials also several officers went to casinos in Detroit and Pittsburgh to get an idea of what to expect.

Police would not say specifically how many on-duty officers will be designated to the casino, but previously said the downtown safety plan includes 20 more police officers, seven more traffic control cops, plus off-duty officers being paid by the casino to work in the casino.

Officers wearing plain clothes will also patrol as thousands of visitors pour into downtown when the Horseshoe Casino opens Monday night.

The casino said it has handed out 1,500 wristbands for the opening to give some people priority access once the doors open at 9:30 p.m. The time for the general public to line up on Prospect to get inside was changed from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Horseshoe will employ 130 people for its security staff and will have a thousand casino surveillance cameras, many aimed outside in the area around Public Square.

The Cleveland casino will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is expected to draw more than 13,000 people downtown every day.

The facility has enough seats for 5,000 people to gamble at once, and has a total capacity of 12,000 people.

Officials said of the 1,600 workers there, 90 percent have never worked in a casino before.

Casino goers must be 21 years old and have a valid ID.

Casino officials said the casino is opening on a Monday night to allow workers and police to transition into the grand opening because opening on a weekend can be overwhelming.

During a recent Cleveland City Council meeting, it was announced that federal authorities will keep an eye out for any organized crime or prostitution rings that try to cash in.

State investigators will patrol inside the casino for professional cheaters, theft and more liquor control agents will be assigned.

No alcohol will be sold between 2:30 and 5:30 a.m.

Stay with NewsChannel5 and newsnet5.com for the latest on the opening of the casino.

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