♣…I have read of concerns of the Police on campus and what they do. This past season has seen a drop off in gameday arrests. I thought I would give the regular fan an inside look at what the Police do on gameday.
Now I am not speaking for every officer that works the games but I do know most feel like I do. As a city officer, we do not generally work with excise or the state police. Those are the officers you usually see walking around the tailgate area’s making sure there is no trouble starting due to drinking.
City officers generally work traffic control and in-stadium security. I work in-stadium. If you see city officers in or around the tailgating area, it’s a 99% certainty that they are either walking to or from the stadium for duty.
First off let me say that there are 2 main reasons we work the games. 1. We too are Fighting Irish fans and enjoy the chance to attend the games and enjoy the atmosphere. 2. of course, for the extra money.
On gamedays, we all meet up in the security office inside the stadium before it is opened to the general public. We are told our respective patrol areas in the stadium, any concerns the administration has and any special instructions.
We also enjoy submarine sandwiches and coffee/soft drinks while we wait to head to our locations. This is a small break where we can walk around the stadium and field. The security office is near the media rooms on the west side, inside the stadium. It has 2 jail cells and a back door out of the stadium for prisoner extraction out of the stadium.
The gates open for the public. We locate ourselves throughout the concourse and gates to help with checking bags, generally help the ushers and welcome people to Notre Dame stadium. It is truly amazing how diverse the fan base is. People travel world-wide to watch Notre Dame football.
I am always surprised at the look of wonder and awe many people have in their eyes as they enter through the gates and look up and around the concourse. They look like little kids who have just seen their first Christmas tree when the lights are first turned on. There is so much to see; banners of players, Heisman Trophy statues commemorating past ND Heisman winners, and busts and full size bronze sculptures of the great coaches. It can literally bring some to tears (like the dad in Rudy) but this is real life.
Approximately 15 minutes before kickoff, we officers head to our patrol location among the stadium seats. We enjoy the game as much as any Notre Dame fan would. Believe it or not, the last thing that we want to do is kick someone out of the stadium or worse, arrest someone. Yes, we have heard the stories of ushers overreacting when someone is caught with their own alcohol in the stands or standing or cursing and bothering bystanders.
We are not there at the direction of the ushers but to work with them to make the experience a great one for the regular fan. It is not uncommon for us to first-respond to medical emergencies as well.
After the game, we clear the field (especially if the field was charged by fans, which has happened only 1 time in my 10 years of working the games). We then again patrol the concourse to make sure everyone gets out of the stadium safely.
I love interacting with the fans of both teams and have only had to arrest 2 people since working; one for damaging university property because he was sloppy drunk and then the other for shoplifting at one of the concessions. Other than that my years working for Notre Dame have been a great experience…♣