Dodgers Increase Opening Day Security
Police reported a strong dip in the number of arrests and public drinking citations at Tuesday's opening day game in Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, according to a report from Sports Illustrated.
One year after a Giants fan was beaten into a coma in the parking lot, security was considered a "paramount priority" at the event. Undercover officers wore Pittsburgh Pirates jerseys in the stadium, and uniformed officers patrolled on bikes, horses and in squad cars, the report says. According to Sgt. Mitzi Fierro, officers will be wearing rival team jerseys at every game this season.
"If somebody is going to harass a fan from an opposing team, it increases the possibility of them coming in contact with a police officer," she said. "It kind of requires people to be on their best behavior."
There was also strict enforcement of the zero-tolerance policy for booze in the parking lot, a rule which disappointed some fans, according to Sports Illustrated. However, only two arrests were made and 72 public drinking citations were given, down from 89 arrests and citations at the 2011 opening game, according to Officer Bruce Borihanh. There were also 79 ejections from the sold-out game for rowdiness, drunkenness and other unruly behavior.
"If we'd had this level of enforcement last year we'd probably have more than 345 citations," Borihanh said.
Last year's opening was marred by an attack at the end of the game on Giants fan Bryan Stow, who was wearing a San Francisco jersey when he was punched in the head, kicked and slammed to the ground in the parking lot. Stow, a Santa Cruz paramedic, suffered severe brain damage and continues to undergo rehabilitation.
Critics blamed the attack on Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, saying that his decision to cut security, including the number of uniformed LAPD officers that the Dodgers pay to staff games, contributed to a dangerous climate of rowdiness, Sports Illustrated reports.
Fans at the game said that the increased security helped add to their peace of mind at the game, and even fans for the opposing team felt secure enough to wear all of their Pirates gear.
For commentary from Security Magazine publisher Mark McCourt (no relation to Frank McCourt) on last year's incident and a guide on how to plan better stadium security, please read No Dodging Risk.