Metal detectors to increase security at Bryant-Denny Stadium


CW/ Hannah Saad

Ben Stansell, Assistant Sports Editor

In an attempt to further improve game day security, University of Alabama students and fans will walk through metal detectors at all gates upon entry of Bryant-Denny Stadium this football season.

“I think, not only having the technology to look for weapons, but also the presence of a better security poster, will work to deter somebody from doing something disruptive or dangerous,” said Ralph Clayton, assistant vice president for public safety.

The entry process for fans and students will be similar to the one utilized in a test run that took place during the final home game of the 2017 season. When guests arrive at the gates, they will be asked to remove any metal objects from their person before walking through the metal detectors. If a guest possesses a prohibited item, they will have to either dispose of the item, or return it to their car.

Individuals who are unable to pass through a metal detector due to special circumstances will be checked by security with a hand-held device.

In total, 180 metal detectors will be installed in Bryant-Denny, with 164 of them being designated as primary detectors at entry gates and 16 as secondary detectors. The 16 secondary detectors will be used for follow-up screenings if a guest sets off a primary detector multiple times, a move that will keep lines from stagnating, according to Clayton.

“I guess since it’s becoming standard in most big sports arenas in America it makes sense Bryant-Denny would follow,” said Megan Zeier, a senior majoring in chemical engineering. “But it’s annoying for students since we really only bring in our phones, and it will slow down an already slow process.”

Since the implementation of metal detectors will require additional time for entry into the stadium, Clayton said he encourages fans, and especially students, to arrive at their gate slightly earlier than they have in past seasons.

“The best advice is to get there a little early,” Clayton said. “If everybody gets there at the same time, right before kickoff – that’s what our studies have shown: that a majority of fans will get there the last 30 minutes before the game – then that’s when the wait time will be longer.”

In a best-case scenario, Clayton projects the wait time to gain entry into Bryant-Denny will fall somewhere between three to five minutes.

The decision to install metal detectors came two years after the University enforced a clear-bag policy for Bryant-Denny stadium.

“We are constantly trying to improve security and safety for the fans,” Clayton said.