Bears fans cope with handheld metal detectors
By Mary Houlihan Staff Reporter December 4, 2011 2:18PM
Security guards scan Lachelle Jackson from Kansas City, Missouri as she enters Soldier Field before the Bears face Kansas City Chiefs in Chicago on Sunday, December 4, 2011. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 6, 2012 8:13AM
Bears fans are used to long lines on game day at Soldier Field. But fans at several gates faced a longer than usual wait Sunday as a new security check was added before the game with the Kansas City Chiefs.
At Gates 0 and 38, fans were scanned by handheld metal detectors.
Phil Resendiz, 36, of Joliet was waiting for friends and eyeing the growing crowd at Gate 0 on the stadium’s west side.
“Man, this is worse than normal,” Resendiz said. “I’ve never had a problem getting in before, but these lines aren’t even moving.”
But about 11:40 a.m. ,with the crowd backing up nearly to the tunnel at Gate 0 where about 23,000 fans enter, the wands were set aside, said Soldier Field general manager Tim LeFevour. Security personal returned to patting down fans and the crowd quickly began moving.
Smart fans got in line early to avoid the crunch.
“It’s no big deal,” said Amy Coe, 37, of Bolingbrook. “As long as it’s all secure and safe inside the stadium, that’s the most important thing.”
The change is not a reaction to any incident but because the NFL considers it a better security practice. It’s already done in several stadiums, and the NFL wants the procedure in place in all stadiums by next year.
LeFevour says the handheld detectors will be added to another gate when the Bears play the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 18.
“It’s just a matter of educating the fans,” LeFevour said. “And encouraging them to get to the gates early.”