Seattle PD Hopes Officers In Opponents' Gear Cuts Incidents At Seahawks Games
The Seattle Police Department hopes the idea having officers during Sunday's 49ers-Seahawks game at CenturyLink Field wear 49ers apparel will “help fans think twice about how they treat everyone at the game, no matter what team they’re rooting for,” according to a front-page piece by Alexa Vaughn of the SEATTLE TIMES. SPD Captain Jim Dermody and stadium officials “wouldn’t say how many of the officers will go undercover as 49ers fans, or where they plan to circulate in the crowd expected to exceed 67,000 in and around the stadium.” Seattle police “worked undercover during the Seahawks’ exhibition game” against the Raiders. But Dermody said that staffing “will definitely be higher than normal on Sunday because the nationally televised night game is against a division rival.” Vaughn reports the S.F. Police Department has “employed a similar undercover strategy" at Candlestick Park and AT&T Park since ‘11. S.F. Public Information Officer Gordon Shyy said that it is “hard to quantify how many incidents his department might have prevented with the tactic, but they’ve continued to use it, especially at big games.” During the 49ers’ home game last Sunday against the Packers, there were "two felony arrests, six misdemeanor arrests, 13 ejections by police and an additional 33 ejections by Candlestick security.” Shyy acknowledged that the number of incidents at the game “wasn’t as high as expected because Candlestick decided this season to stop selling alcohol after halftime.” CenturyLink Field does the same. Seahawks Dir of Corporate Communications Suzanne Lavender said that the stadium “does not disclose ejection numbers” (SEATTLE TIMES, 9/13).
A SMART MOVE: ESPN's Max Kellerman liked the idea and said, "Even if you don’t have undercovers in the stands, it's going to make people behave like human beings." Kellerman said the NFL "is selling this as a family game, and I don’t want to have to take my kids to a game and worry about knuckleheads." ESPN's Marcellus Wiley said, "It's smart and you don’t even have to actually implement resources to back it up. You can just say, 'Hey, you don’t know the guy next to you who you think is an opposing team fan could can actually be a policeman.' You're going to act right. ... Whether it's random or it's overt, it's a smart move" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 9/12). ESPN's Jackie MacMullan said, "Everybody in the entire NFL should put this to use." ESPN's J.A. Adande: "People should feel free to wear whatever jersey they want to a game without feeling like they're going to be assaulted. So if this helps cut that down, good for the undercover cops ("PTI," ESPN, 9/12). ESPN's Keith Olbermann said, "It sounds silly, but it is the first tangible attempt to check violence based on fan loyalty" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 9/12).