Led By GPD Chief
Terry Cannon Has
BY KEN LITTLE
Security arrangements are nearly finalized for The Band Perry's free concert scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday in downtown Greeneville.
No one has been busier making preparations than Terry Cannon, Greeneville police chief.
"We've been going at it pretty fast and pretty furious," Cannon said Wednesday as he sat in his office fielding phone calls about the event.
Virtually every Greeneville Police Department employee will be working Saturday, with assistance from numerous other law enforcement agencies and city departments.
'A UNIFIED COMMAND'
"We will probably be the lead agency on this thing. We're just going along the lines of an incident command," Cannon said.
"We're setting up for this whole thing so we have sort of a unified command of police and EMS and fire."
Cannon estimated there will be between 180 and 190 law enforcement officers working different aspects of security at the event, including about 65 Greeneville Police Department employees.
He said officers from throughout Greene County understand the significance of the concert.
"This is just a big thing for Greeneville and Greene County," Cannon said. "There will probably be more people in here than any single event we've had in Greene County, if the weather's pretty good and it goes all right."
Providing security is a team effort, Chief Cannon said. Greene County Sheriff Steve Burns said Wednesday the Greeneville Police Department has access to all Sheriff's Department resources.
"We're actively assisting them in whatever they need -- communications, command center, logistics, manpower, personnel.
"We're going to assist them Saturday [in handling the concert], and if they're tied up and they need to answer a call, we're going to assist them with that," Burns said.
Deputies will also help Friday with setting up the Sheriff's Department mobile Incident Command Center, which will be located in back of the North Main Street stage where The Band Perry will perform on Saturday.
Chief Cannon said SWAT teams from the Greeneville Police Department and the Sheriff's Department will be available to back up the band's own security team.
"They [the SWAT officers] have experience in dignitary protection," Cannon said. "We will work with their crew."
Other events involving the band will take place Saturday before and after the concert.
"We will be helping them [the band's security staff] as much as they want," Cannon said.
Officers and other first responders will fan out from the Incident Command Center, prepared to respond to any issues.
A First Aid station operated by the Greeneville Fire Department will be set up on West Depot Street, next to the side exit of the General Morgan Inn, Greeneville FireChief Mark Foulks said.
Crowd predictions have varied from about 10,000 people to considerably more than that.
"There's just a lot to this," Chief Cannon said. "We have no idea how many [people] to prepare for. We're trying to plan for the worst and hope for the best, so to speak."
FOUR WEEKS' NOTICE
Officials had to organize the logistics for the concert on about four weeks' notice.
Getting organized meant working with the Greene County Partnership, The Band Perry, its publicists, sponsor General Mills and other entities.
"You have time to pull things together but it's one of those things [that is] a pretty big surprise," Cannon said.
"Essentially, people will have to be working 16 to 18 hours and we have to make sure people will get relieved. There's just a lot of things that have to be considered."
Many agencies came forward to offer assistance, he said.
The Greeneville Fire Department, Greene County-Greeneville Emergency Medical Services, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the FBI, the Tennessee Army National Guard, the Greene County Office of Emergency Management, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, the Sullivan County Sheriff's Department and the Morristown Police Department are among those playing a role in the event, Cannon said.
Several of those units are providing bomb technicians and dogs to supplement the Greeneville Police Department and the Greene County Sheriff's Department.
"We're pulling resources from all areas. Everybody has been very gracious in helping us out," Cannon said.
The Greeneville Public Works Department will oversee event cleanup and setting up detours.
Pastors of downtown churches have been cooperative in scheduling to avoid conflicting hours for Holy Saturday services, Cannon said.
Detours on main routes into Greeneville will be set up Saturday to direct motorists who are not attending the concert around the downtown congestion, he said.
"I anticipate there will be a point where we close some roads down coming into Greeneville because at some point there will be some gridlock down here," Cannon said.
There will be about 4,300 parking spaces available downtown and at the Greeneville Middle School, the chief said.
That figure does not include several thousand more parking spaces at the Greene County Fairgrounds.
Shuttle service by bus to and from the downtown will be available beginning at noon Saturday from two major parking areas: the county fairgrounds on Fairgrounds Road and the Hal Henard Elementary School/Greeneville Middle School parking areas on Vann Road.
The Greene County Partnership has announced that shuttles from the Greene County Fairgrounds will drop off passengers at Roby Adult Center (corner of Church Street and College Street), and shuttles from Hal Henard School will drop off passengers at the corner of McKee Street and Main Street.
Shuttle service will continue until after the autograph-signing by the Perrys following the concert.
ABOUT THE WEATHER
Forecasts call for warmer temperatures on Saturday, with some possibility of rain. Cannon said rain alone will not cause the concert to be moved indoors to the gym at Hal Henard Elementary School, which is the backup location.
"We can take the rain," Cannon said.
High winds or the possibility of lightning would have to be factors in moving the concert indoors, he said.
"All we can handle is 3,500 in Hal Henard," Cannon said.
A decision to move the show to the Hal Henard School gym would be made at least 24 hours in advance of the Saturday concert, Cannon said.
The Main Street concert location was chosen by the band.
"This is where The Band Perry wanted to have it. They love downtown Greeneville," Cannon said.
The chief said he is hopeful that the need for crowd security will not be great.
"The main thing is, if everybody respects everybody else and they don't get to pushing and shoving," Cannon said.
"They should be able to see and hear, and everybody should have a good time and [we] should not have a lot of problems."