By: Marissa Pendergrass
We're just hours away from the official start of the John Deere Classic in Silvis, IL. Months of planning go into making sure it's safe for everyone. Police officers who work security detail tell us they treat the tournament as a high profile event. They monitor the crowd by looking for anything suspicious and enforcing the course rules.
For retired Moline Police Officer John Claeys working the JDC is rewarding. It's his 31st year and he knows TPC at Deere Run like the back of his hand.
"All the entrances, you know the driving range, putting greens, clubhouse, you know places where the pros are," said John Deere Classic Security Chairman John Claeys.
Claeys said about 50 officers from local departments including Moline, East Moline, Silvis, Hampton and the Rock Island County Sheriff's Department, work with the PGA Tour to control the crowd.
"After 9/11 they came down and told us exactly where we had to put all that stuff. And each year it gets modified," Claeys said.
Thousands flock to the course to see the pros. Officers said they enforce cell phone etiquette, parking rules and make sure people don't drink too much alcohol.
"You know, make sure that they have transportation off the course, make sure that they don't get into trouble you know, leaving the course," Claeys said.
They have a couple command posts on site including a mobile command unit. It's fully-equipped with security cameras, police scanners and computers. Officers said it's a serious job but they also find time to enjoy it. Uniformed officers are paid to work, but cops wearing yellow shirts are volunteers.
"Most people think we get paid for it. So I put up with a lot of that, we're doing riding around in a golf cart, getting paid. But I'm not getting paid. So I just do it for the fun," said volunteer and Moline Police Officer Jaime Thomas.
Officers said they also get help from private security workers hired just for the tournament.