SECURITY technology will play a central role in protecting the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, officials say, with a focus on detection and prevention and a cost that may exceed $US2 billion.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck told the Los Angeles Times, detection and prevention would be more vital than shows of force. He expects the traditional threats of explosives, guns and other deadly weapons would remain, but a new generation of terror and sabotage will likely evolve.

“It is tough to say,” Beck said of the future threats. “I would imagine by that time cybersecurity is going to be all encompassing. It will be the financial security of the Games, the financial security of the city, the protection of infrastructure from hackers.”

The 2028 Olympic Games are set to be declared a national special security event and the U.S. federal government, through the Secret Service, will lead a multiple-agency law enforcement effort. Beck said the approach is going to be vital because of the vast numbers of personnel needed over so many weeks.

Meanwhile, Mike Downing, former deputy chief of counterterrorism at the LAPD, told the Times agencies must not react to an attack like the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing but thwart it.

“It is great to have the firepower, but the prevention side of the equation is so much more important: good intelligence and good disruption,” he said.

Downing, now executive vice president of security for Prevent Advisors who advises major venues, said that at the 1984 Olympics he sat atop a building at UCLA with night vision goggles while today, the city can be blanketed with cameras aided by facial recognition technology.

“You can put them (IVA-enabled cameras) up and take them down, position them at all major points and use mesh networks to support them,” Downing said.