September 3, 2002 — Fans showing up for University of Utah football games this year at Rice-Eccles Stadium will see heightened security. The most important difference will be the visual search of every bag being brought through the gates. Security personnel say the measure is strictly for safety reasons, and screeners are instructed to look only for certain things. Items prohibited from entering the stadium include:
— Glass Bottles
— Aluminum cans
— Coolers/Ice chests
The university athletics department is making sure fans are aware of the changes, before they get to the stadium. Each person who buys a ticket is being notified at the time of purchase and signs will be installed in parking lots letting fans know that bags will be searched. Season ticket holders have already been sent a notice in the mail.
The idea behind the enhanced screening is to make sure fans have a safe, enjoyable experience at the football game. Ryan Omer, guest services supervisor, says this is not a reaction to any specific threat or intelligence. “Increased security, as well as bag searches, is becoming common place in stadiums and arenas throughout the country. Rice-Eccles Stadium has recently implemented such practices and does so for the safety and enjoyment of our guests. We want the fans to have a good time and enjoy themselves, and at the same time, feel safe.”
The new procedures were implemented after consultations with a professional security firm. They include:
— All bags entering Rice?Eccles Stadium are subject to search
— Bag size must fit under your seat and not block the isle
— Bag searchers will ask all patrons to open bags and coats as well as open and shake out blankets
— Bag searchers will not touch individuals or their belongings
There will be enough security personnel at Rice-Eccles Stadium for Saturday’s game to ensure long lines do not develop. However, fans are encouraged to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the 6 p.m. kick-off.