$200K grant could protect Daytona Speedway from terrorist attack

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. —

Daytona Beach will decide whether or not to accept a Homeland Security grant to help protect crowds at the Daytona International Speedway, just two days after the attack in Boston.

The police chief said turning away the money would be a major mistake.

The $200,000 grant the city will vote on would add security, equipment and new bomb detection technology -- something police call “target hardening.”

Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood said the city has been after the grant for the last five years.

"The timing is clearly, with what happened in Boston, it makes a lot of sense," Chitwood said.

According to city documents, the money would be spent on new X-ray equipment for police and deputies to detect bombs in hard-to-reach areas.

The grant would also be used to purchase cameras that can be mounted temporarily anywhere that have the ability to pan, tilt, and zoom in on anything suspicious.

Chitwood said it's all designed for modern threats of terrorism.

"It's somebody that operates below the radar screen that is not looking to kill 3,000 people. They'll be happy and call it a success with what they did in Boston," Chitwood said.

At the Speedway, there are as many as 100,000 fans. Even they know there's always a threat.

"Can you make them totally safe? I don't think you can ever do that, but it would certainly enhance it if they can spot something on camera before it happens that would be great," said race fan Steve Fronapfel.

Chitwood said technology is crucial, but he believes the best line of defense is people who call in tips of suspicious activity.

"It all comes down to individual responsibility, if you see something you have to call and notify law enforcement," Chitwood said.