Football season is an exciting time on college campuses. The fans, excitement, and camaraderie can make for a great day. But with a large influx of people coming onto campus, there can come opportunities for danger, both unintentional and not. For a
football team to be successful, they need to communicate and know each other’s every move. This also holds true with police enforcement coordinating and responding appropriately to incidents that may occur.
Preparedness and an increase in security and situational awareness are essential to keep people safe. Special events, students, activities, and student organizations make for a different policing environment than one in a city. Implementing incident or
emergency management protocols can help event staff, students, fans, law enforcement, and first responders take the correct precautions to improve response times in a crisis, no matter how big or small.
Dr. Brad Alge, Professor in Organizational Behavior at the Krannert School of Management, who researches Technology and Human Interaction, states, “Surveillance technology is a tool that can be used for beneficial purposes like training employees. It encourages crowds to be more compliant and cooperative when aware of the technology. But on the downside, surveillance might increase one’s hesitancy to get involved in a situation. Under a watchful electronic eye, people may present themselves in ways that aren’t authentic so as to “look good” in a particular situation. Being on stage can become emotionally exhausting.”
Teams and Police are Taking Advantage of Technology in New Ways
Drones can provide different field views, imaging, and information that the coaching team and security can look at immediately. For athletes, it could mean preventing a play from happening again. For security, drones and other surveillance become the eyes, ears, and boots on the ground. Additionally, you can put technology in a dangerous situation while watching in real-time instead of allowing a person to walk into an unsafe environment.
Just as football teams review footage to improve, police do the same to evaluate their performance on game day. Reviewing footage allows the police force to determine how they handled situations, confirm they followed their decision-making model, and if their overall tactics were appropriate. They can then use it as training material for the newer officers on the force.
Indiana University Chief of Police, Jill Lees says its mission statement is, “The Indiana University Police Department creates a safe environment through respectful, fair, and impartial policing and community engagement.” To help uphold their mission, every officer on IU’s police force added Body Worn cameras in 2020 to their uniforms.
Officers don’t know the people attending games, much less their mental health conditions, intentions, or possible alliance with a terrorist organization. In short, spectators are a mystery. That’s why placing officers on the interior and exterior of the football stadium, on traffic detail, and the surrounding tailgating lots is paramount to keeping the campus safe.
Utilizing Body Worn cameras ensures that any critical incident footage is live-streamed. A car crash close to popular gates gets addressed immediately, and traffic gets rerouted. A suspicious bag can be inspected within minutes. And irregular crowd behavior will be monitored and diffused if necessary.
Officer Tips to Ensure Safety on Game Day for Students
Most fans think about football, tailgating, and who will win on game days, which makes suspicious activity easy to forget. But it’s imperative for everyone to keep their eyes and ears open by doing the following things:
- If you see something, say something (from unattended bags to suspicious vehicles to out-of-control crowd members).
- Be of a clear mind and stay responsible.
- Always have an exit route in case of an emergency.
- Stay with friends and don’t allow anyone to leave alone.
- Read the critical safety messaging provided by campus police.
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