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Arrive even earlier, Bears fans: Security to screen fans with wands Sunday

Updated: January 3, 2012 9:24AM

The huge lines to get into Soldier Field could be even longer this Sunday, officials said.

That’s because the Bears are adding another security check to fans attending the game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The team said Thursday that some fans will now be scanned by handheld metal detectors, based on a recommendation from the NFL. Fans will have to remove any metal items, such as keys, and hold them in their hands during the screening.

The goal, officials said, is to phase out pat-downs of fans — a process that started in recent years but was expanded to include fans’ legs at the start of this year. The pat-downs have greatly increased wait times to get into Soldier Field.

Bears spokesman Scott Hagel said the team is adopting the wands not in response to any problems but because the NFL considers it a better security practice; it’s already done at several stadiums. The wands will be used at a few gates this week and then will be evaluated.

“We will continue to phase it in as long as the process goes successfully,” Hagel said.

Officials admit the already time-consuming process will likely take even longer.

“The new procedures could increase entry times, so fans are strongly advised to arrive early and allow for extra time when entering the stadium,” the team said in a written statement.

Gates open at 10 a.m., two hours before the noon kickoff.

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