By the time fans file into Amon Carter Stadium on Sept. 9 for TCU football’s home season opener, preparations to ensure fans’ safety will have already been under way for months.In addition to more than 60 Fort Worth police officers assisting TCU Police, the university uses plainclothes officers and hires bomb-sniffing dogs that work alongside specially trained arson investigators from the Fort Worth Fire Department, Fort Worth police Lt. Paul Jwanowski said.
Fort Worth police enforce city and state laws and are rarely involved with enforcing stadium rules, said Jwanowski, who has been overseeing Fort Worth police security at TCU games for more than 11 years.
“We’re out there to make sure it’s a family atmosphere at the games,” Jwanowski said.
Ross Bailey, associate athletic director, said Fort Worth police are “only going to get involved when somebody fails the attitude test.”
The university employs California-based Contemporary Services Corp. to enforce stadium rules and seating assignments, he said.
Both TCU Police Chief Steve McGee and Jwanowski said there haven’t been any significant security problems recently at sporting events.
Most incidents are alcohol-related offenses, such as public intoxication or a minor in possession of alcohol, but officials are prepared to deal with various situations ranging from terrorist threats to natural disasters, Jwanowski said.
Fort Worth police officers on bicycles will be present in parking lots, as well as the outlying shuttle lots like the one at Paschal High School, to prevent property damage and theft, Jwanowski said. Officers will also be present at every location where money is changing hands, he said.
McGee said the university’s relationship with the Fort Worth police has provided consistency in game-day security over the years, along with much needed extra manpower.
“It’s worked out great,” McGee said. “They have excellent officers that are really community-oriented.”
Lance Kearns, a senior history major and member of Hyperfrogs, said it’s clear TCU takes event security seriously.
“I really don’t think about safety,” Kearns said, “I pretty much believe that they’ve got it under control, so I don’t worry about it.”
The additional officers from the Fort Worth Police Department free up TCU Police to perform its normal day-to-day tasks around campus on game days, McGee said.
Security levels at the stadium are constantly adjusted and have increased several times over the years, McGee said.
The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks prompted the addition of the bomb-sniffing dogs as well as the addition of several officers, Jwanowski said.
He said they also use the National Incident Management System that was established by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in March 2004 in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
McGee said the number of officers fluctuates based on the estimated attendance for each game.
“We have certain parameters that we use, and we add or subtract officers,” he said.
McGee estimates that at least 20 officers will be added for TCU’s sold-out game against Texas Tech University on Sept. 16.
Fort Worth police also have an intelligence unit that works closely with the FBI, Jwanowski said, and many of those officers work security during games. He said about 12 off-duty SWAT officers help with game security and could assemble a team in case of an emergency.
Jwanowski and McGee both said there are other measures in place that could not be discussed for security reasons.
The Fort Worth Fire Department and MedStar Emergency Medical Services are also on hand to provide emergency medical service to fans, Bailey said.
He said other colleges have similar problems as TCU.
“Most of the problems are the same,” Bailey said. “Only the colors change.