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Cpt. Scott Mielcarek is incident commander for U.S. Open

 

Scott Mielcarek overlooks Chambers Bay golf course, where he's in charge of security for this week's U.S. Open. - Susan Miller photo

Security for the biggest event in golf in the United States is all up to a guy who graduated from Lake Roosevelt High School in 1983.

Scott Mielcarek is coordinating efforts with dozens of law enforcement agencies and hundreds of personnel for the U.S. Open, happening this week near Tacoma, at the Chambers Bay golf course on Puget Sound.

The USGA expects 235,000 spectators to attend the event.

Mielcarek, a captain with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, is is charged with keeping them as safe as possible.

"It's a Super Bowl day for seven days in a row that will be viewed by 150 million people." Meilcarek said Monday. That makes it a desirable venue for anybody who wants to make a very public statement about some cause.

"Unfortunately, in the world we live in today, you have to be prepared for people that may want to take some type of action," he said.

Mielcarek, who supervises the sheriff's department's criminal investigations division, has been basically focused on the U.S. Open for the last year. But he actually started preparing in 2009, when he was incident commander for the U.S. Amateur Open. Then he attended the last four U.S. Opens to learn from law enforcement at each of those events.

But Chambers Bay, where the USGA has constructed a temporary city in the last few weeks, has some unique challenges for security. A railroad track runs in front of it with several daily freight and Amtrak trains passing through. And the course is right on Puget Sound.

It's a county-owned course within the city of University Place, and parking and traffic will be affected in Puyallup, Tacoma, Stillacum and Lakewood.

Coordinating security involves including all those entities, including the railroad and the U.S. Coast Guard, which is patrolling the waters, allowing no boats closer than 1,000 yards.

Mielcarek said more than 36 police agencies are helping in the event, local, state and federal. And that doesn't include hundreds of private security staffers.

"This is a huge event," Mielcarek said. "There is no one agency that can handle this alone."

The U.S. Golf Association has infrastructure for a temporary town on the course, including pavement and pipes, that will be removed after this week. - Susan Miller photo

He wouldn't say exactly what the security personnel number is, but it's in the hundreds, including staff on the course, working traffic, in uniform and out, boats in the water and dozens of explosives detection dogs.

Mielcarek, who was born and raised here (his mother is Susan Miller of Electric City), had had little more than a couple hours sleep Sunday night, and he's brought his personal trailer on site.

But it's exciting to see plans that have been coming together for years working well, so far, he said.

Tuesday and Wednesday, the pros were playing practice rounds. Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker ... they'll all be there. As will hords of fans, of modest means and huge wealth, none of whom are likely to think too much about security.

That's the job of Mielcarek and a whole lot of people working in the background.

"It's very rewarding to see it all come together," Mielcarek said.

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