Following shooting in Vegas, questions linger regarding hotel security

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HARTFORD – Tragedy in Las Vegas is now raising questions about security in hotels.

Police said the shooter, Stephen Paddock, brought nearly two dozen firearms to his 32nd floor suite at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. This is now sparking the debate of whether or not hotels should add metal detectors, check bags, or take enhanced security measures in the future.

FOX61 reached out to several hotel chains to find out more about security protocol and if it will be modified. The spokesperson for InterContinental Hotels Group, the parent company of chains including Holiday Inn, said:

"We are always looking for ways to enhance security standards and protocols at IHG branded hotels including guidance from law enforcement officials. We do this because the safety of guests and employees is critically important to us."

Hilton said with the security of the guests and team members in mind, they decline to comment on security procedures including how they respond to situations or how protocols are updated. A Hilton Spokesperson wrote:

"The events of last weekend in Las Vegas are unthinkable – our thoughts are with everyone affected by the tragedy. At Hilton, our primary concern is always the safety of our guests and Team Members. Our team members are trained to look for and report suspicious activity. We remain in touch with our contacts in law enforcement as their investigations unfold, to see how our security practices may need to be reinforced or updated."

The American Hotel and Lodging Association released the following statement: 

"One of the lodging industry’s top priorities is the safety and security of its guests and employees. Hotels have safety and security procedures in place that are regularly reviewed and updated as are their emergency response procedures.   The hotel industry has existing policies, resources and trainings in place for hotel staff to spot and report suspicious activity or behavior, as well as training to care for displaced or injured guests.

AHLA’s Safety and Security Committee, with representative security experts from within the hotel community, convened a call in the immediate aftermath of this incident to begin to assess the impact of this heinous attack. In addition, we also work closely with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Commercial Facilities Sector as well as rely heavily on police and FBI nationally and in specific markets. For example, in New York, the NYC Police Force has already reached out to hotels to hold special training sessions following this specific incident.

As we better understand the facts in the coming days, we will continue to work with law enforcement to evaluate the industry’s measures and determine what changes may need to be implemented."

Hunter Hardinge Global Communications & Public Affairs for Marriott International said:

Hotel security has always been one of our top priorities to keep both customers and associates safe. Security procedures and risk assessments at our properties are reviewed often, and we typically re-evaluate them after tragic acts like this to determine what, if any, changes may need to be made.

Each of our properties is unique, so individual security measures are tailored to each property. As a result, we have a range of security measures in place throughout and around the hotels.  I’m sure you can understand that as a policy we do not discuss the specifics of our security measures.

Should customers in Las Vegas, L.A. or the U.S. expect to see immediate security changes? At this time, it’s too soon to say if any changes will be made.

FOX61 spoke to Connecticut residents who offer different perspectives on the topic. Middletown resident Taylor Tomassett said he’d feel comfortable if security was beefed up in hotels.

“I don’t know if patting down would be appropriate for everyone but I don’t see anything wrong with a metal detector it's at the airport and people still fly, they still go to the airport,” he said.

Tomassett said places that attract large crowds or events should have heightened security. A Connecticut visitor, Roger Kranenburg, said he feels metal detectors may be a bit extreme.

“I think it's a delicate balance between liberties and security,” he said. “Some level of security to secure the hotels is warranted.”

“You can’t blame the hotels for what this lunatic did because the amount of people you have going in and out,” Manganello said. “He was there 2,3,4 days.”

You can weigh in on a debate here.