Louisville — On May 4, 2023, Acting Assistant Secretary Gary Rasicot of the Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office (CWMD) traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, to observe security preparations for the 2023 Kentucky Derby. The Louisville Metro Police Department requested support from CWMD’s Mobile Detection Deployment Program (MDDP) to coordinate monitoring and detection of potential radiological and nuclear (R/N) activities at and in the vicinity of the Churchill Downs race complex. This effort is part of CWMD’s core mission of helping local, state, and federal agencies safeguard special events like the Derby from WMD threats. This coordination is a standard precautionary measure and not in response to any specific threat.
The CWMD MDDP team supports state and local law enforcement and public safety agencies activities to counter R/N threats. Local authorities may request assistance to enhance security leading up to special events such as the Kentucky Derby. The MDDP team’s support encompasses specialized R/N detection equipment, technical expertise, and coordination to assist federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial operators anywhere in the United States or its territories with WMD threat detection, interdiction, and reporting.
While in Louisville, Acting Assistant Secretary Rasicot met with the Louisville Metro Police Department Hazardous Incident Response Team, the Kentucky Department for Health - Radiation Health Branch, the Kentucky National Guard's 41st Civil Support Team, the Regional FBI Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator, the Department of Energy - Radiological Assistance Program Region 2, and the Federal Coordination Team. Mr. Rasicot received an overview of each agency’s WMD capabilities and how those capabilities are applied to securing a special event.
Acting Assistant Secretary Rasicot also heard first-hand the value that MDDP capabilities bring to enhance Kentucky Derby security measures. This interaction with city and state security and radiation experts gives CWMD officials valuable information to help ensure the federal support is responsive to the needs of state and local communities. Louisville Metro Police Detective Dustin Clem said “Louisville Metro has partnered with CWMD for many special events and the services they provide ensure the safety and security of the Kentucky Derby. Louisville Metro looks forward to the continued partnership with the professionals from CWMD.”
CWMD serves as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s focal point for countering weapons of mass destruction efforts. By supporting operational partners across federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial levels, CWMD coordinates DHS efforts to safeguard the United States against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear, threats.