Stillwater News Press

Local News

August 31, 2012

Police ready for some Oklahoma State University football

STILLWATER, Okla. — More than 100 cameras inside and outside Boone Pickens Stadium and two Skywatch towers will help law enforcement agencies create a safe environment for Oklahoma State University football fans Saturday, Oklahoma State University Police Chief Mike Robinson said.

OSU police has 31 full-time officers. The department receives help from Stillwater and surrounding community police departments as well as the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and Federal Bureau of Investigation on game days, Robinson said.

Planning game day situations and strategies start months before the football season kicks off. The Cowboys play host to Savannah State at 6 p.m. in Saturday’s season opener at Boone Pickens Stadium.

The camera feeds are monitored in a command center that is manned by representatives from across the state and nation, Robinson said.

“When we become aware of a situation in a specific area, we can monitor that on video,” Robinson said. The system is more elaborate and advanced than most systems used at other Big 12 schools.

The Skywatch towers can be lifted 20-feet above ground and will be used to monitor crowds, he said.

OSU police also received money from the Department of Homeland Security to purchase three security barricades that will be used to shut down Hall of Fame Avenue for the pregame block party, Robinson said. Previously, the department used wooden barricades.

OSU officials communicate with the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI Joint Terrorism Taskforce and Oklahoma Fusion Center prior to kickoff to secure the area and monitor incoming intelligence information, Robinson said. This security measure was necessitated by the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.

University officials also monitor weather conditions — storms and heat — at the command center.

The statewide burn ban remains in place, Robinson said. Burn-ban provisions will be enforced in tailgating areas.

It is OK to use liquid-petroleum gas, natural gas or charcoal-fired grills at tailgating parties. The grills must be set up over a nonflammable surface and be at least five-feet from flammable vegetation. Camping-cook stoves are exempt from this regulation.

Tailgaters also need to have a pressurized fire extinguisher nearby while cooking.

“Ultimately, this is about creating the best experience for football fans on game day, and that won’t be achieved if we don’t ensure they have a safe environment in which to do that,” he said.

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