College prioritizes safety at sporting events

Kaho Akau, Staff writer

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A Linfield student, who asked not to be named, collapsed in the CatZone student section during the Wildcats’ home opener against Mary Hardin-Baylor.

The incident was a medical issue, so the school cannot release any specific information about the incident due to confidentiality, according to athletic director Garry Killgore.

Although a police officer and usher were able to assist the student, the incident was not reported to Linfield College public safety officers.

The recent rise in football game attendance means that security and ushers must pay closer attention to the crowd. Large crowds can make it difficult for staff members to spot someone who is in need of assistance.

“I’ve checked with my staff and we are not aware of anyone who collapsed during the last home football game. It was not reported to CPS,” Ron Noble, Director of College Public Safety, said.

The next step is improving communication between security and staff to increase safety at sporting events for students, fans and players.

Every home football game has four Linfield college public safety officers, four McMinnville police officers, three paid external security guards and a team of student ushers.

Officers, security guards and ushers are given two-way radios to communicate if assistance is needed.

If any alcohol-related incidents were to occur, officers and staff members would not crack down on fans unless they were visibly intoxicated, Noble said.

“In my years of working here, I only had to remove one person from the stadium,” he said.

Game day staff members understand that alcohol and tailgating are evident factors at athletic events.

Though alcohol can be a risk, a beer garden was brought in to elevate the fan experience. So far, it hasn’t disappointed and only good feedback was given to the athletic department.

“The beer garden was brought to bring in revenue,” Killgore said. “It enhances the overall game day experience. The alumni who I have met with are enjoying it.”

The Streak Street food trucks will also rotate locations to maximize profit for all vendors.

An entire team effort was needed to make these festivities possible, including the athletic department, sponsors, alumni, CPS and facilities services staff.

Noble and Killgore agree that game day staff members have done a good job ensuring that fans are assisted in a timely manner.

Typically, students hesitate when they see officers, especially if those officers are standing by the front gate of the stadium.

Noble said CPS’ goal is not to scare away fans but to create an inviting environment.

“We want everyone to keep coming to the games,” Killgore said. “We don’t want to stop at football. We want to have this fan experience for as many sports as possible.”

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College prioritizes safety at sporting events