Mount Vernon News
 
 
Dan Werner was a security officer at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The security is expected to be even greater this year at the Games in Socchi, Russia.
Dan Werner was a security officer at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The security is expected to be even greater this year at the Games in Socchi, Russia. (Photo by Bill Davis) View Image

By Mount Vernon News
January 24, 2014 11:38 am EST

 

MOUNT VERNON — The Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, are being overshadowed by the safety and security surrounding them.

It’s a familiar scenario for Dan Werner.

The Mount Vernon resident and security officer at Columbus State Community College spent three weeks working security at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Because it was less than five months after 9/11, those Games — just like now — were clouded by security concerns.

“People were pretty well behaved,” said Werner. “We’d sometimes get people who didn’t look right. But we didn’t have any issues.”

Werner was stationed at the Olympic Family Hotel, where most of the royal and high-profile guests stayed. Security was tight everywhere, but it was at its tightest there, complete with an eight-foot fence surrounding it.

“Nobody got in without credentials,” said Werner. “We would use magnetometers. And our credentials were marked, to show we were armed.”

Werner, who was the director of security at Kenyon College at the time, worked 12-hour shifts in Salt Lake City. Each day began with a briefing at 7 a.m. He was then placed near the gate of the hotel, behind the military perimeter.

“If they got through the military, it was my job to stop them to make sure they were OK to come in,” said Werner.

Like other volunteer officers, Werner wasn’t paid. But he was provided meals and lodging, and received a ticket to the closing ceremonies. He was also given a heavy duty yellow-and-black winter parka.

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