Chicago police said Wednesday that officers will use lessons learned after the Boston Marathon bombing as they promised tight security at a Friday parade and rally to celebrate the Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup win.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said he's been in touch with Boston Police Department Commissioner Ed Davis. Boston police have given Chicago police two in-depth briefings, he said.
"We've been discussing best practices in law enforcement based on what happened in Boston," McCarthy said.
Chicago police plan to search backpacks and large bags and use bomb-sniffing dogs as a result of those discussions with Boston police. The bombers in Boston placed explosives inside backpacks they then left along the marathon route.
Two million fans celebrated in downtown Chicago when the Blackhawks won the 2010 Stanley Cup, and this year's event could draw similar crowds. McCarthy also said the department, as they did during last year's NATO summit, will have uniformed and undercover officers working throughout the crowds as well. McCarthy said the same police team who planned security for last year's NATO summit has been planning this rally for weeks.
"We've done this before," McCarthy said.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also stressed that Chicago's police force has a history of handling major events. The mayor said the department knows what it is doing, as it showed during the NATO summit, in which its control of the crowds of protesters was widely praised.
"The way we handled, as a city and particularly our police department, NATO has become the blueprint and the template around the world, literally, how you handle public safety in big events," Emanuel said.
The parade is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. with players riding atop double-decker, open-air buses. The parade will end at Grant Park, where there will be a rally. Authorities said the park can hold about 100,000 fans but large screens will broadcast the rally for overflow crowds.
City officials encourage fans to take public transportation, not bring restricted items and take precautions for warm weather.