“Our fans deserve to be in a safe and secure environment,” Jeffrey Miller, the NFL’s chief security officer, said Thursday. “Public safety is our top priority. This will make the job of checking items much more efficient and effective. We will be able to deliver a better and quicker experience at the gates and also provide a safer environment. We appreciate our fans’ cooperation.”
An NFL committee on stadium security recommended these measures in May and the owners have approved them.
A secondary buffer area well outside the stadium will be established where security personnel will check for prohibited items or bags being carried toward the ballpark. Fans with prohibited bags will be turned away until they dispose of those bags. Stadium personnel are being encouraged to have approved bags on hand to give to fans, or to have a place outside the restricted areas to check items, so that fans can reclaim after games.
Recently, the NFL has done pat downs and bag checks and also used metal detectors to upgrade security. The new policy announced Thursday has worked well at colleges such as Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State, which do not permit any bags in their stadiums. Boston’s TD Garden allows only clutch bags.
The NFL ramped up security at the draft in late April, its one major event since the Boston Marathon bombings. In a statement Thursday, the league said:
“We had been discussing a new approach to bag restrictions before the Boston Marathon incident. We have come up with a way to do it that will actually make access more convenient for fans than it has been. We think the fans will embrace and appreciate it.”
Stadium workers and media will continue to enter NFL stadiums through designated gates where they will be subject to screening and bag inspections.