Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Vancouver cops loafin' and sweepin' at the Bayshore

While the Canada Maritime Conference opened at the Westin Bayshore hotel in Vancouver on Sept. 23, Vancouver Police Department officers were huddled on the second floor for Sweep Training. That's what the lobby sign said.

That explains the well-groomed, plainclothes types spotted slowly wandering Coal Harbour area sidewalks with clipboards. The duos and trios were noting every parking meter, pole, fire hydrant and crack in walkways. And, no, they weren't armed with brooms or brushes.

Every Olympic venue will be thoroughly examined in security sweeps during pre-Games lockdowns.

The cops came and went in some of the newest additions to the VPD fleet, Dodge Sprinter vans. The rest of the world knows it as a Mercedes-Benz model or a "bread van" for the loaf-shape.

These vans are popular with police worldwide, from the scene of European soccer riots to patrols of Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Look for them around the Olympic city.

The Olympics are a venue for Nike and Adidas to show off their latest, high-tech gear that turns mere mortals into gold medalists. It's also an occasion for security and safety equipment suppliers to hype their products.

The Westin Bayshore, by the way, will be among the three most-secured locations of the 2010 Winter Olympics because it is the primary Olympic family hotel. Only the Vancouver and Whistler Olympic villages will have such tight security.

Sweep Training sign in Westin Bayshore lobby.

VPD bread van outside the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver.

VPD bread van near the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver.

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