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Acad secure in its plans

Guest columnist

We found your analysis of the “bizarre rituals” that you’ve endured in attending the Academy Awards ceremony quite puzzling (The Back Lot, Daily Variety, Feb. 20).

You may wonder who these ominous, mysterious security guys are, but we don’t. We spend hundreds of hours with them throughout the year, designing and refining every aspect of the operation.

As for the men and women of the LAPD, we employ a large number of LAPD personnel in an off-duty capacity, and every year the department dedicates a substantial contingent of on-duty officers to help ensure safety.

As you know, the Oscar ceremony is a very attractive target for any number of people. Some want to sneak in. Others have more nefarious plans, from stalking a celebrity to using our telecast to make a statement. For some, that statement might be a violent one.

So we check and recheck tickets, and the LAPD checks vehicles to make sure that no one pulls up to the corner of Hollywood and Highland with a trunk full of fertilizer. And that’s about as bad as it gets, Peter. Most of our guests who comment on security say how safe they felt and how courteous everyone was.

Two other points from your column: First, we didn’t invite the LAPD into our operation two years ago. We’ve collaborated with them for decades, and since September 2001 and our move to the denser urban neighborhood surrounding the Kodak Theater, we’ve worked even more closely with them.

Second, I guarantee that the time it takes to clear our security procedures won’t come close to equaling the length of the show itself. This is the Oscars, after all.

Ric Robertson
Executive Administrator
Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

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