By The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG – Police in Winnipeg say they were already considering a potential vehicle attack as they planned security for Jets fans looking to party downtown during the NHL playoffs.
Insp. Dave Dalal says attacks such as the one in Toronto on Monday are becoming more common, and Winnipeg police are prepared to keep fans at the so-called Whiteout street parties safe.
Police have said there were 36,000 people downtown when the Jets clinched a first-round victory against the Minnesota Wild.
Dalal, who is special events commander, says large trucks parked at the four street entrances to the party are there to keep crowds safe.
So is the increased police presence at the party site near Bell MTS Place where the Jets play.
Dalal says police are ready for when the Jets take on the Nashville Predators in the second round of the playoffs.
“We’ve been mindful of this type of threat and that’s why you’ve seen the large vehicles parked there,” Dalal said Tuesday. “We’ve seen these threats worldwide. The reason that they’re so prolific is that they’re hard to prevent and they’re easy to carry out.
“Our intent is to make sure that everybody who’s down celebrating has a safe environment to do so. Part of that is ensuring there’s no vehicles that will either deliberately or inadvertently get through.”
There are also security measures in place to protect fans walking to the Whiteout parties, Dalal said, but he wouldn’t comment on specific operational tactics.
“People will see street closures to prevent vehicles from accessing the area. You’ll see officers at various points leading into the area as a visible presence,” he said.
“Nobody thought it would happen in Toronto … We’re doing our best to make sure that doesn’t happen here.”
Security will increase as projected crowd numbers grow larger, Dalal added.