MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Organizers at the Beach Ball Classic have upped security for the tournament this year.
Guests now have to walk through metal detectors - a first for the basketball tournament - before entering the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, where the games are played.
The Myrtle Beach Police Department has also provided its sky watch tower in the convention center's parking lot for officers to get a bird's eye view of the area as guests enter and exit the building.
Myrtle Beach police also provides a number of officers for each day of the event. That number depends on the time of day. As more people enter the building for the later games, more officers are present.
Paul Edwards, general manager of the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, said security is very important to him and other tournament organizers.
"With the world the way it is today, we don't want to take any chances," Edwards said.
According to Edwards, a lot of thought went into planing for tournament security.
"This year we talked about it, we came up with a plan, we put that plan in place, and it's worked very well," he said. "And again, people like to see that. They feel comfortable. They can enjoy the games without the fear of something bad happening."
Some people who work at the metal detectors work for the city of Myrtle Beach. Others are employed by Myrtle Beach High School, where metal detectors are already used at basketball games.
Edwards said adding the sky watch tower in the parking lot is something organizers have wanted to do in past years, but the tournament always ended right around the time the MBPD uses the tower at The Market Common for New Year's Eve.
This year, the tournament ends a day earlier than in the past, so the MBPD can use the tower at both events.
Edwards said adding the tower can only help.
"That deters people from doing anything, and also it makes the people here feel safe," he said.