LOGAN — Football fans usually worry most about offense and defense during an Aggie football game. The recent mass shooting in Las Vegas though is giving everyone something else to fear, their safety. Many are asking, how they can be kept safe when attending a large event like Saturday’s.
New USU Police Chief Michael J. Kuehn said public safety is what his officers and staff have been practicing for, and Saturday will be no different. He admits though, recent events have hit close to home and reminded everyone to always be on guard.
“It can happen and we have to prepare for those kind of things,” explained Kuehn. “It is really important for us to look at every aspect of a certain event, looking at what are the weak links and where can we strengthen them. It is a difficult process but I think we do a pretty good job of it. You know it can happen here, that is just a fact.”
Police have been planning weeks in advance for Saturday’s game against Colorado State. They look at traffic control, getting people in and out of the stadium and watching the crowds during the game.
There are 12 officers and five reserves stationed at different posts during games. An emergency manager, fire marshal and dispatch operators will also be on assignment. Kuehn said it is really a team effort, working together with event staff and fans.
“I’m up in the command center at the game generally and it’s very typical for calls to come in saying, ‘hey we got a person causing problems in section whatever.’ Or they may be a little too intoxicated, or something is happening. Those are our fans. Those are people who have come there for a good experience, who are willing to step up and not just be an inactive bystander. That happens quite often.”
Policy and procedures have been developed over years of experience. Officers also have protocols in place to call in backup from the Logan City Police Department if the need arises.
Kuehn said, “If you see something, say something.” He encourages the public to alert police if they see someone acting suspicious or unruly.
“If fans see someone carrying something unusually large, or somebody that looks excessively nervous, dressed unusual or in bulky clothes, that should raise red flags. Those are all kinds of things that should trigger someone to think, something is not right there. Or someone that is just acting suspicious. Those are all kinds of clues for our fans and people who attend these venues.”
Kuehn has just finished his 7th month on the job after being hired in February to replace the former chief, Steve Mecham, who retired. He said USU is the best place to work and is full of people who really care about the university.
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