New security measures implemented at UP sporting events

By Kyle Garcia | August 23, 2018 5:52pm
New security measures have been implemented for all athletic events at UP. The measures include full-body metal detectors at all entrances and a new list of prohibited items.
Media Credit: Jeff Braccia / The Beacon

New faces on the field and on the court aren’t the only changes coming to UP athletics this year. Some of the biggest changes to this year’s games are happening at venue entrances. 

The University has recently updated its security measures for athletic events on campus. Now instead of just worrying about how their team is doing, Pilot fans will have to think twice about whether they can bring in their bags and water bottles.

There will now be full-body metal detectors at all entrances for the Chiles Center, Merlo Field and Joe Etzel Field. Backpacks and bags larger than 12" x 12" x 6" are now prohibited, and only factory sealed or empty water bottles are allowed in UP venues.

Various items are also prohibited now from UP venues. The list includes more obvious items such as weapons (knives and guns, even if concealed, are not allowed) and outside food to less obvious objects such as umbrellas and balloons. A full list of prohibited items can be found on UP’s website.

Public Safety Director Gerry Gregg, who headlined the update, said that most of the security measures implemented are standard fare and are consistent with other venues across the northwest. Public Safety researched how to best put the measures into action for months before making them official.

“We’ve been sort of researching, thinking about it, watching,” Gregg said. “For public events it has really become the industry standard to provide some sort of security screening. If you look at the Rose Quarter, so the Moda Center, the Coliseum...most all of your venues have some sort of security screening.”

The University started experimenting with new security measures at the OSAA High School Basketball Tournament and graduations held at the Chiles Center. The security measures evolved after the OSAA Tournament. Public Safety upgraded from wands to metal detectors, which Gregg said are “faster, less intrusive, and more reliable” than wands.

Public Safety also used the new security measures for when the Manchester City and PSG women’s soccer teams played at Merlo Field last month, which was the first athletic event the updated measures were used for.

The new security measures apply to all UP venues, including the Chiles Center, Merlo Field and Joe Etzel Field.

by Cheyenne Perry / The Beacon

Associate Athletic Director for UP Jason Brough said that the update in security was not triggered by any specific event. Like Gregg, Brough said that the the updates are in line with what other athletic events, such as the West Coast Conference Basketball Tournament, have started doing. The move is to keep up with the standards set by other venues. 

“We just wanted to make sure that we’re providing a safe and secure environment,” Brough said.

There were no major issues at the UP vs. UBC exhibition match on Aug 10, the first UP athletic event where the measures took place. They expect there to still be some growing pains with people getting used to the process, but have made some significant strides since testing out the measures earlier this year.

“Some people are getting used to it,” Brough said. “We’re trying to be amenable and adjust where necessary.” 

They have taken the feedback from exhibition games this summer and adjusted the measures to better help out game attendees, mostly relating to food and beverages. 

Gregg expects that once people are adjusted to the process it will become significantly more efficient while ultimately creating a safer and more secure environment for UP event attendees.

Both Gregg and Brough had some suggestions as to how fans can expedite the process, such as arriving earlier, using a clear bag or even not bringing a bag unless absolutely necessary. Gregg also encourages people to look at the prohibited items list before the event so that they know what’s allowed and permitted. 

“I know it’s easy for people to get frustrated,” Brough said. “I think it’s a little bit of growing pains where we want to create a safe and secure environment and we want to create a professional environment as well that’s also very family friendly...We’re trying to make it as a fan friendly as possible.”