Like a slow burn streaming series, the narrative for security today at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards is not what you see, but what you don’t see.
As more and more attendees begin to arrive this afternoon and traffic starts to snarl in the area before the 5 PM PT kickoff for the host free affair on Fox, the sheer number of Los Angles Police Department officers and assisting units like the FBI looks to be relatively the same as past years and maybe even a little less. However, as we heard from various officials and local security experts, looks can be deceiving.
“Visibility is always a deterrent, but for a big league event like this year’s Emmys, we’re dropping a technological net over the vicinity and ensuring a healthy undercover presence,” a law enforcement source told Deadline of the strategy in play Sunday in and around the Microsoft Theater in DTLA. “There’s no need to make people nervous while you work to make them safe,” another well-positioned source added.
With greater security resources at hand than ever before, according to multiple sources, there is also a quick response plan in place should any disruption take place.
“Law enforcement will expand the perimeter of protection in the area, and be ready to deploy if there’s any bad guys,” says Kent Moyer, CEO/President of World Protection Group whose firm provides security to entertainment companies, execs and talent during the Emmys and other big award shows.
There’s typically several rings of protection at a high profile televised awards event like the Emmys explains Moyer with LAPD, the lead security agency at the event, ATF, FBI, and the L.A. Country Sheriff’s Department.
Officially, the LAPD is treating tonight as business as usual in a town that sees large scale events like the Emmys weekly.
“On this evening of the Emmy Awards, we have more than enough officers to respond and handle any issues that may arise,” Officer Drake Madison told Deadline.
“Although we do not expect any problems, we always plan for the worst and hope for the best.,” Officer Madison added. “There have been no threats directed towards this event. However, we like to remind everyone if you see something that’s out of place, or doesn’t seem right, or something that could develop into a problem, say something. Always remember….If you see something, say something! Let’s have a safe Emmy Awards evening.”
Additionally, we hear that in the wake of Universal’s marketing commotion with Blumhouse’s now cancelled Blue State vs. Red State thriller The Hunt, and Donald Trump declaring that “Hollywood is Racist” among other barbs, officials are doubling down in their red flag monitoring this year.
“I can’t speak to any specific threats,” one law enforcement source declared, while noting that the LAPD, FBI, Homeland Security and others have been following “relevant” online chatter and posting the past several weeks leading up to tonight’s Emmys. “We take all possibilities into account and prepare to shut a situation down before it becomes a problem.”
In an acknowledgment of those 21st century realities, police and will keep a close watch on social media throughout the 5 – 8 PM PT ceremony tonight for anything which might indicate a threat, or a potential disruption in the works which could impact the downtown Microsoft Theater and surrounding Staples Center area.
Similar to the 2018 Emmys, drones will also be a popular form of law enforcement with the use of drones with thermal imaging that can detect toxic chemicals in the air or even find suspects in the bushes. A FAA overseen no fly zone is expected to be in effect over the Emmy awards area throughout the day and well into the night after the awards have been handed out.