SF Woman Thankful To Be Home, Police Prepared After Las Vegas Shooting

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The mass shooting in Las Vegas has shaken the nation, including people right here in the Sioux Empire. With the entertainment destination being a short plane trip away, many locals were visiting and are now thankful they’re back home.

“I jumped on Facebook and saw what had happened and was in utter shock,” says Bridget Hartung.

Hartung and her boyfriend spent the weekend in Las Vegas.

“My phone blew up like a Christmas tree to be honest with you, people touching base and checking to make sure we were okay,” says Hartung.

Thankfully, the couple’s trip ended Sunday afternoon, just before the mass shooting happened.

“We just keep thinking, ‘wow you we’re right in the heat of the moment almost, you we’re right by that room when he was doing gosh knows what’,” says Hartung. “He could have been on a bus with us, you never know. So it’s a very scary thought.”

In Sioux Falls, it’s Lt. Jeff Garden’s job within the police department to think about these scary situations.

“We try to think ahead as what may become upcoming issues; things we may have to look at in the future,” says Garden. “Whether that’s a specific threat, if it will require material support or if it will require personnel support.”

There are multiple outdoor events like Jazz Fest that bring in thousands of people. For these, Garden says the department always has a plan and is ready if tragedy strikes.

“The goal is if we do this right, through the planning, that people are able to come to these events and these venues and they enjoy themselves,” says Garden. “And they don’t really notice us.”

The Sioux Falls Police Department is already looking into how to keep the downtown Levitt Shell concert venue safe when it opens in 2019.

“There’s a lot of behind the scenes things that we will be allowed to do,” explains Garden. “We have a good plan and good thoughts moving forward.”

The Vegas shooting is making it even clearer — this planning is needed.

“Everyone knew there was a potential for a threat that could happen anytime, but something at this level put its right smack in front of you,” says Garden.

For safety reasons, Lt. Garden can’t go into specifics about what the plans are to secure the Levitt Shell concert venue.

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