BOULDER - Folsom Field on the campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder will play host to two large events during the month of May. CU-Boulder Police are working on plans to keep those events safe on the heels of the Boston Marathon bombings.
At 8:30 a.m. on May 10, between 10,000 and 15,000 people are expected to attend the CU-Boulder graduation ceremony at Folsom Field. Then on Memorial Day, more than 50,000 people are expected to be in Folsom Field for the Bolder-Boulder. Both events are un-ticketed and open to the public.
In past years, individuals attending these events simply walked into the stadium with little or no screening. That will change starting with the CU graduation.
"What will be different this year is that this will be similar to a football game in the sense that we will be screening bags at the entrance. We're asking people to not bring any bags larger than 12 inches. So a purse, small backpack is OK. Anything larger than that will not be allowed inside the stadium," Ryan Huff, spokesperson for University of Colorado at Boulder Police, said.
The CU Police department has been consulting with the FBI in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings seeking advice on enhanced security for the graduation program and Bolder-Boulder.
"I think in the aftermath of what happened in Boston every law enforcement agency is reevaluating how they plan for events and we're no different," Huff said.
The CU graduation ceremony is slated to begin at 8:30 a.m. on Friday. The gates to Folsom Field will open at 7 a.m. Huff is advising people wishing to attend to arrive early.
"If there is one thing I could emphasis is early, early, early. Between the extra security, construction on US 36 and the potential it could rain, we just want people to be able to be in the stadium and see the program," Huff said.
The CU Police is also recommending people use small plastic grocery type bags instead of hard-sided bags or daypacks. The plastic bags will speed the screening process.
Security plans for the Bolder-Boulder are still being finalized, but it is safe to say those plans will include enhanced security as well.
"For both commencement and the Bolder-Boulder there will be some things that are very obvious to the public. There will be things that are not obvious to the public by design that we're doing to enhance security," Huff said.
While the CU Police are devising a security plan to take advantage of police officers on the ground, equipment and technology, they are also asking for help from the tens of thousands of people who will be in the stadium.