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NFL Teams Will Start Using Handheld Metal Detectors In November

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NFL teams will start using handheld metal detectors in November to upgrade the screening process at all 31 stadiums, according to an email issued by NFL Chief Security Officer Jeffrey Miller. In the Oct. 14 e-mail obtained by SportsBusiness Journal, Miller informed stadium managers that the league plans to buy 3,100 handheld scanners from Garrett Inc. and distribute 100 to each NFL facility. There is no cost to the teams. In addition, Garrett will provide DVD instructional videos to train security personnel how to use the devices, and the league will conduct a video conference with Garrett officials demonstrating their use. The NFL’s intent is for teams to phase in the scanners in an effort to identify the best way to deploy them at their stadiums.

The action comes after a fan was arrested for illegally using a stun gun at the Cowboys-Jets game Sept. 11 at MetLife Stadium. The NFL implemented full pat-downs at stadiums after a serious threat was identified through intelligence briefings by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, Miller reported in the e-mail. About six weeks later, the security threat remains and the current pat-down system is “not an adequate response,” according to Miller’s e-mail.

During the recent league meetings in Houston, Miller presented information on the benefits of using handheld scanners at stadium security checkpoints. After team owners approved their use, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell directed Miller to develop a plan to buy and use the scanners. League officials believe the handhelds will provide a more efficient method to screen fans and speed up crowd flow into the stadium compared to the current pat-down system. The units will “close the security gap” in the overall screening process to provide a safe game day experience for all fans, Miller reported.

The NFL is not the first league to use handheld metal detectors. NBA teams have been using them for the past several years to screen fans entering their arenas.
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