News Column

Police prepared for any contingency at Brown movie premiere

July 24, 2014

By Bianca Cain Johnson, The Augusta Chronicle, Ga.

July 24--Security preparations for tonight's premiere of the James Brown biopic Get On Up began long before the actors and director fly into town.

The Richmond County sheriff's newly formed Dignitary Protection Team of about 17 people already has looked at every imaginable possibility to ensure that the premiere and afterparty at the Augusta Museum of History goes smoothly, Maj. Steve Strickland said.

He referred to the team's preparations as "a scaled-down version of what the Secret Service does." The preparations for the 600 to 800 people expected to be in attendance aren't too different from how the sheriff's office would have acted before the team was formed. Now, though, it has more formal training.

The team has already done a site survey and looked at plans for Regal Cinemas and the history museum and have tossed around several worst-case scenarios and put plans into place for how to react to each one.

The scenarios range from someone falling and twisting an ankle at the event to some that Strickland didn't want to mention.

"But there is zero threat at this time," he said. The plans serve as a precautionary measure and follow under the rule of "better safe than sorry."

Strickland said that because of the profile of some of those in attendance, the sheriff's office decided to put forth the same plans as it would for a dignitary visiting the county.

Brown's daughter Deanna Brown-Thomas previously told The Augusta Chronicle that Chadwick Boseman, who plays Brown, director Tate Taylor and Lakeside High graduate Keith Robinson, who plays Brown's band member Baby Roy, are expected to attend.

The team has even put several alternate traffic routes together in case an unrelated wreck causes issues for people traveling from the premiere to the afterparty.

Preparation will continue today as team members take more precautions, including taking police dogs in to check the sites.

Strickland could not specify how many would be providing security at the event.

"We've set it up so that people can have the best experience," he said.


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Source: Augusta Chronicle (GA)

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