How Denver-area venues work to protect fans at events

Next's Marshall Zelinger has been investigating venue safety around Denver for months, examining it each time that America is staggered by a mass shooting. We've found some venues and police agencies won't say much, and others are taking a proactive appro

As we cover the tragedy in Las Vegas, we want to be sure we're answering your questions.

Katie asked Next: "With the latest mass shooting, can you find out what local venues have set up for security protocols for concerts and events?"

Matt echoed that with, "I would like to know what the city is doing - proactively - to make our city safer and more prepared."

Here's a quick list of what's happening at local venues, followed by a police chief perspective on an issue you might not have thought about yet: drones.

RED ROCKS

Monday night, Red Rocks is hosting Kings of Leon. According to Brian Kitts, marketing and communications director for Denver Arts & Venues, which manages Red Rocks, concert security will look no different than you're used to seeing.

Concertgoers will be subject to bag checks and random wanding from handheld metal detectors. There will also be uniformed and undercover officers.

PEPSI CENTER

WWE is at the Pepsi Center tonight and tomorrow. No one from the Pepsi Center returned our afternoon phone call or email, but the venue was the first in the Denver Metro area to use walk through metal detectors, starting in 2013.

GREAT AMERICAN BEER FESTIVAL

When GABF starts at the Colorado Convention Center on Thursday, everyone attending will need to go through metal detectors, including vendors. There are also restrictions to what you can carry into the event, though pretzel necklaces are still OK.

MILE HIGH STADIUM

Yeah, we called it Mile High Stadium. An out-of-business sporting goods company doesn't pay us to use its name. The Denver Broncos have a bye week, but host the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football on Oct. 15.

"Our hearts are with the victims from the tragedy in Las Vegas. We remain in constant communication with local law enforcement and the NFL as far as best security practices. Our security team at the stadium meets with law enforcement to evaluate all incidents, including the situation in Las Vegas. There is no greater priority than the safety of our fans, players and coaches, and stadium staff. We're evaluating with local law enforcement and the NFL," said Broncos Strategic Communications Manager Seth Medvin.

Broncos fans already go through metal detectors and must abide by the league's clear bag policy. So far, no changes have been announced for the next home game.

COORS FIELD

If…when, the Colorado Rockies beat the Arizona Diamondbacks in their playoff game on Wednesday, they'll eventually play at home in the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Fans at Coors Field can expect the same security they've seen all year, including walk through metal detectors.

Warren Miller, the Rockies Director of Communications, checked with Major League Baseball to see if the league was planning any changes. MLB's statement is similar to the Broncos/NFL statement.

"The safety and security of fans who attend MLB games are our highest priorities.  MLB and its clubs work diligently with local and federal law enforcement to implement security plans in order to protect fans at each of our ballparks," said the MLB statement.

FIDDLER'S GREEN

Fiddler's Green is done for the season, but the open-air venue, surrounded by taller buildings, is the closest representation to the same type of venue in Las Vegas.

"We dissect what did happen so we can learn how to prevent what could happen," said Greenwood Village Police Chief John Jackson. "We're constantly looking at ways to prevent people from being able to get in with ill motives."

Jackson said he has considered many incidents that could happen at Fiddler's Green and prepares a response to get concertgoers in and out of the venue safely.

"Before every concert, there's a briefing, an operational report of everything from weather anticipated to known complaints," said Jackson.

He's even thought of incidents that you may not have yet. He was supposed to present to city council tonight, a proposal to ban drones within one mile of an open-air event in Greenwood Village, including "concerts, recreational events, sporting events and other organized events that are likely to draw a crowd."

"From one end of the spectrum, of it simply falling out of the sky onto someone's head with rotary propellers, or somebody that could put something on a drone and either drop it or launch it," said Jackson. "It's really important that you stay out ahead of it and you're proactive as opposed to reactive. The kicker in public safety is to try and get ahead of it and prevent it as opposed to solve or deal with it on the fly."

The ordinance to ban drones near open-air events was pulled this afternoon, and will be presented at a later date. He said it was a problem during the I-25 tanker crash at Orchard Road that shut down the highway through the evening rush hour and into the next morning.

"We don't want a drone showing what's going on or tracking movement of personnel across a street," said Jackson. "With the incident on I-25 and the fuel truck, we did have drones immediately coming to gather, what appeared to be footage for someone, or watching how we're working and of what was going on with the actual fire."

He said he has helped implement "crime prevention through environmental design" by making it harder to get a car directly into the Will Call area, trimming back shrubs for line-of-sight and adding video cameras.
This spring, when Next was asking questions to the different venues about severe weather emergencies, we found that venues did not want to share what the emergency plans would be until they announced them at the time of the emergency.

We asked Jackson if he thought concertgoers should have an idea ahead of time, what would be expected of them in different situations, specifically what happened in Las Vegas.

"Sending people out a message of what they do if someone starts shooting at them from a window above would probably cause more confusion than not," said Jackson.
He said his officers are trained to get people where they should be for safety and to make announcements as needed.

He also showed off his tactical gear. He said every officer in Greenwood Village has a kit that includes a bulletproof vest that can stop the same kind of bullets used in the Las Vegas attack. It also includes a helmet and headset for better communication during an active shooter event. He said each kit costs $2,000 and was paid for by the Greenwood Village Police Foundation. Here is a video demonstration of what these kits include. Jackson said he could get into his in about 70 seconds.

Marshall Zelinger is an investigative reporter for Next with Kyle Clark. If you have a tip you'd like to share, email Marshall at marshall@9news.com.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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