State announces new security rules for War Memorial Stadium | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

State announces new security rules for War Memorial Stadium

Posted By on Tue, Aug 28, 2018 at 1:52 PM

click to enlarge WAR MEMORIAL STADIUM: New security rules. - STEPHEN MURPHREE
  • Stephen Murphree
  • WAR MEMORIAL STADIUM: New security rules.
The panicked exit of 38,000 people from War Memorial Stadium over a false report of a shooting Saturday night has led to new security rules for the stadium.

The state Parks and Tourism Department, which operates the stadium, issued this statement:

ADPT has added these security measures:

• A clear-bag policy for all athletic events.

• Use of a security wand on all patrons entering the stadium. [Wanding had been done 'as needed.']

• A prohibition against loitering in the concourse.

War Memorial Stadium has been home to thousands of family friendly events over the decades. ADPT plans to continue that time honored tradition. However, the world has changed in the past few years, and increased security is a necessity.

“Our number one priority is safety,” said ADPT Executive Director Kane Webb. “At the same time, we want everyone who comes to War Memorial to feel comfortable and enjoy themselves. We believe that the clear bag policy and use of security wands will be the least invasive method to accomplish that goal, and can be implemented immediately. Going forward, we will continue to evaluate security measures and enhance them as necessary.”

An investigation into the incident at the Salt Bowl is ongoing. ADPT will keep the public updated as the investigation unfolds.
It's impossible to say if these rules would have prevented Saturday night's panic during the Salt Bowl high school football game between Benton and Bryant. No one was seriously hurt. The thinking seems to be that a fistfight set events in motion. Were people loitering in the concourse? Were they waiting in a line? We may never know. Most also seem to agree somebody attempted to use an electronic shock device, but it seems unlikely the noise it produced resembled a gunshot and thus caused the panic. Some barriers being knocked over in the stampede for the exits apparently did produce a loud bang. No one has yet produced evidence that guns were present, much less used, Saturday night.

Will clear purses and other bags make people feel safer at the next Salt Bowl between Benton and Bryant? Perhaps. They'll still be attending a night event in a city where the white Little Rock cops mostly don't live because they view the city as dangerous and live in suburbs such as Benton and Bryant.

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