KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The biggest concern after the massacre in Las Vegas seems to be hotel security. Investigators say gunman Stephen Paddock was able to carry in 10 bags of luggage with firearms up to his hotel room, before firing on the crowd. Police are now calling Mandalay Bay Resort a soft target.
State leaders in the hospitality industry say security measures are in place at East Tennessee hotels, but say changes are always possible.
“I’m not opposed to metal detectors. I think as a society, especially those who travel through airports, are getting pretty accustomed to that type of security measure. So I would be all for that for our safety,” said Lynn Atkinson visiting Knoxville from Chicago.
“Metal detectors and things like that, I don’t think that’s necessarily something that you need to do. I think it kind of infringes on your freedom to stay where you want to stay,” said Joe Modugno of Boston visiting Knoxville this weekend.
Greg Adkins, president of the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association, says employees at any hotel go through rigorous training, which happens often.
“Part of the training is to identify risks, to identify things that are not normal. A lot of times we have training for human trafficking, training for anything that may seem out of the ordinary,” he added.
Adkins says hotels in East Tennessee and statewide work closely with local law enforcement.
“They do sweeps in the hotel. They’ll do sweeps in the parking lot. It depends on the property, some properties are larger and they have security. Some employees are even trained in security,” he said.
Many hotels are looking at and reviewing their current security policies in light of what happened in Las Vegas, as well as if changes could be made.
“I think it’s always an option,” said Adkins.
If changes are proposed, hotel companies would bring them to law enforcement to discuss what would work and if it’s possible.
“There’s a sense of privacy as well with a guest and it’s a matter of do you go into violating that person’s privacy to a certain extent? There’s a balancing act there,” said Adkins.
One suggestion for visitors is to be vigilant and watchful. If something doesn’t look right, Adkins says to tell hotel staff so they can address the issue.
Hotels in Tennessee also take part in training practices for bomb threats and severe weather, learning how to evacuate and call first responders, as well as working with law enforcement.