Note: The following story was published in today’s edition of the Anaheim Bulletin.
The world watched this summer as unruly fans in Los Angeles hurled rocks and bottles, overturned cars and set bonfires in the street after the Lakers won the National Basketball Association championship.
Sgt. Jerry Blair with officers Edgar Hampton and Garrett Cross
Los Angeles isn’t the first – nor will it be the last – place where fans have rioted after a major sporting championship.
Anaheim police are well aware of what can happen.
As the Angels head to the playoffs with one of the best records in baseball, police are preparing to ensure it doesn’t happen here.
“Anaheim is one of the safest places anywhere to watch a professional sporting event,” said Deputy Police Chief Craig Hunter. “We have an outstanding relationship with the Angels – and the Ducks – which helps ensure all fans have as safe and enjoyable an experience as possible.”
Of course, Hunter notes, it’s a challenge to manage more than 45,000 passionate people during a big game. Sometimes, fans get out of hand.
Behind the Badge asked Sgt. Jerry Blair, who manages special events and stadium security for the police department, to discuss the preparations.
How does the department work with the Angels?
We work closely with them. I can sit with the team president to discuss safety and security issues. Our open dialogue continues to provide enhanced security.
Anaheim hosts the All-Star game next year. You visited St. Louis to witness how police there handled it. What did you learn?
The primary observation I made was the importance of coordination. A variety of people from different city departments, including police, Major League Baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals and outside agencies worked closely together. It was a huge undertaking and watching it unfold successfully was impressive. I know the relationships we have will be a huge help as we continue to put our plan together.
What’s the biggest challenge of managing a major event?
The biggest challenge, and most important element, is planning. We have hosted a World Series, Stanley Cup and two world championship parades. In January of every year (in a single day) we host Supercross at the stadium, a mixed-martial arts fight or Ducks game at the Honda Center, all while staffing the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) at the Anaheim Convention Center. We have plenty of experience in the execution of large events in multiple locations.
What advice would you give fans?
Don’t purchase tickets from unknown street vendors. There’s a good chance they could be fraudulent. Don’t consume alcohol in the stadium parking lot. It is illegal. Most importantly, treat everyone with respect and enjoy yourself at the games.
Filed under: Angels, Baseball, Crime Prevention | Tagged: Anaheim Angels, Baseball, Craig Hunter, Jerry Blair, Playoffs, Police, Security | 1 Comment »