Traffic in Hollywood will grind to a halt on Sunday, as the LAPD works to wrap the Dolby Theatre in multiple cordons of security.
More than 500 officers will be on hand, many of them working overtime, to ensure the safety of the 90th Academy Awards, along with firefighters, police helicopters and agents from the FBI. Private security guards from Security Industry Specialists will work the inside of the theater.
“We have these concentric rings of security that start in the middle and radiate outward,” says LAPD Cmdr. Blake Chow, who is overseeing the operation. “We have a lot of officers in fixed posts and foot beats keeping an eye on the event.”
Nearly a mile of Hollywood Boulevard will be closed, from Cahuenga Boulevard to La Brea Avenue. Highland Avenue and Orange Drive will be closed for almost a half a mile, from Franklin Avenue to Sunset Boulevard. The Red Line stop at Hollywood and Highland will also be closed all day on Sunday, keeping passengers outside the security perimeter.
Law enforcement officials are not aware of any specific threats against the awards. But for major events, they do study attacks that have occurred around the world, and consult with other agencies, in considering how to configure their officers.
This year, the LAPD is taking extra precautions in light of the shooting at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, in which 58 people were killed. A shooter in the 32nd floor of the hotel opened fire on the Harvest Music Festival, almost a quarter-mile away, firing 1100 rounds.
“That was something that was kind of new,” Chow says, and it has been figured into the department’s tactical plan.
The city of L.A. bills the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for security, street closures, and other expenses related to the event. This year, the cost is $340,000, up from $300,000 for the last several years.
The department hopes the general public will understand the inconveniences that come with the show.
“We want to make sure they know traffic will be bad,” Chow says.