SIOUX CITY | Organizers of large outdoor concerts in Sioux City said Monday they are reassessing security measures for their events in the wake of a deadly shooting at an outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas.
A lone gunman on Sunday fired machine gun-like rounds from the 32nd floor of a hotel window down at an outdoor country music concert, killing at least 59 concert-goers and wounding more than 520 others before turning a gun on himself.
The largest outdoor Sioux City concert each year is Saturday in the Park, which annually draws more than 20,000 people to Grandview Park on the first Saturday in July. The hilly park grounds are surrounded by residential homes.
Dave Bernstein, a SITP co-founder, said Monday's shooting was "tragic" and challenges the current practices for ensuring a safe concert.
"It is definitely a paradigm-changer on how you think about things," he said.
Berstein said SITP has an unspecified number of both uniformed police and undercover security workers. He said it isn't necessarily true that the 2018 version of SITP will have the heaviest security yet.
"I can promise you we will put more thought into how we'll proceed than we ever have," he said.
He said SITP organizers, police and community members will have to hold talks on how extensive the security checks could be into properties surrounding the park. Bernstein said those discussions will ideally land "on what is appropriate and acceptable for our community."
Bernstein said there has been one change in security over the last 10 years. He said previously concert officials wanted people to be thinking of the fun at hand and not see security, while now the goal is to let attendees know there is a strong presence through technology and personnel.
In fact, Sioux City venues this year began heightening security in the aftermath of another prominent concert attack.
After the May terrorist bombing that killed at least 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, Sioux City officials continued to proceed with plans to add metal detectors for concerts and other events that routinely draw several thousand people. Those pieces are being added in the live music venues of the Tyson Events Center and Opheum Theatre.
The city of Sioux City fiscal year 2017-18 budget includes $100,000 for walk-through metal detectors at the Tyson as part of the venue's maintenance improvements. The provider has been pinpointed and there should be at least 12 detectors in the two venues by December, said Erika Newton, director of the city’s Events Facilities Department.
Newton said city officials have "had so many discussions" on concert security and will continue to do that.
"Things like (Las Vegas) remind you that you can never be too careful when patron safety is concerned...The events that are outside are for sure the hardest to manage," Newton said.
There are few outdoor concerts on Tyson grounds, but a notable one was prior to the RAGBRAI ride in July 2015 when Huey Lewis & The News played for thousands of visitors in the Tyson parking lot.
Newton said the city holds the Big Parade downtown in July and some cities hire specialty firms who are adept at finding troublesome people at such events.