Little Rock stadium gets $60K for metal detectors
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — More than $60,000 will be spent on upgrading security at a Little Rock stadium after thousands of attendees fled the stands during a high school football game amid false rumors of gunfire.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson recently authorized the discretionary funds to install 18 metal detectors at the War Memorial Stadium, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
“This will speed up the time it takes to enter the stadium while maintaining the highest level of security,” said Kane Webb, executive director of the state’s Parks and Tourism Department. The department has managed the facility since 2016.
Webb said the stadium will also ban loitering in the concourse and implement a clear bag policy following the Aug. 25 incident , which is still under investigation.
The stampede out of the stadium hospitalized five people, according to authorities. Police said there was no gunfire and that people likely heard falling metal barricades or a stun gun. The cause of the incident remains unclear, Webb said.
“To be in the middle of that was pretty disturbing,” he said.
Webb is hopeful the metal detectors will be installed before the Arkansas Razorbacks play the Ole Miss Rebels on Oct. 13.
The Southeastern Conference had announced earlier this year a new requirement for school venues to install metal detectors by the fall of 2020.
“This is standard operating procedure,” said Meg Matthews, the parks department’s spokeswoman. “What we are doing is part of a national trend.”
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com