Life changed in a lot of ways after the terror attacks on September 11, 2001. As we approach the 10 year anniversary, 10News is looking at what changes were made locally after the tragedy.
Two area institutions our nation depends on is the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Both agencies could potentially be high-value targets for terrorist. For that reason, both TVA and the ORNL have strengthened security.
Before 2001, anyone working or visiting TVA's twin towers in Downtown Knoxville could easily gain access to the elevators. Today, you must have a special badge to pass through gates in the lobby.
Extra protection was also added at all TVA facilities. At nuclear plants alone; TVA officials said staff has increased by 60%, there are more physical barriers, improved detection devices have been installed and security forces received more training.
At ORNL, security changes are most noticeable at the entrance of the facility.
Before 9-11, ORNL officials said employees and visitors could drive close to the laboratory buildings. Now, visitors must show identification and receive a badge and entry pass from security guards at a check-point building built after terror attacks.
"So we control access to the laboratory on the roads from cars, trucks and things that are coming in here. The other thing that we've done on campus is securing the facilities. We must have cards to be able to get into the facilities now," said Jimmy Stone, ORNL's Deputy Director of Facilities and Operations.
Both agencies receive federal briefings as terrorist threats change.
Changes have also been made to Neyland Stadium and McGhee Tyson Airport. The McGhee Tyson airport everyone knew before, changed the day terrorists used planes.
"The biggest change for us after 9/11 is the people screening at the check point now that's federalized, the Transportation Security Administration never existed prior to September 11th," said Becky Huckaby with The McGhee Tyson Airport.
Staff has also grown in all departments, which places more eyes inside and outside the airport. "I wish we didn't have the need for that. But, there just is. It's practical," said airport customer Meghan Alcorn.
Gate rules have also changed at Neyland Stadium. Now, you can't hand over the ticket and keep stepping. Security wants to know what you are carrying.
"Obviously all fans, their persons and belongings are subject to search," said UT Police Chief Gloria Graham. Officials are also looking for what a potential terrorist might have in mind through behaviors of people.
Inside the stadium, all eyes are not on the field. Officials in a surveillance room use cameras to scan the crowd. This season even more security cameras monitor Neyland Stadium.
The latest units were purchased through a Homeland Security Grant. These are all measures which might have been unthinkable before September 11.