At Rogers Centre, Coutinho said that they have measurement guidelines in place as it relates to bag sizes that are allowed to be carried inside the stadium. The content of all bags is also inspected. If security staff or law enforcement comes across something suspicious, Coutinho said they also have X-ray machines available at their disposal.
“I think each individual sports team has to take into consideration the nature of their business and the city that they’re at. Ultimately, you could ban all bags if you chose and some stadiums do without finding a league-wide policy,” said Coutinho. “What we do with Major League Baseball is work with them and establish what those guidelines are. We have an advantage that the season is over for the most part and we’ll have all winter to develop those strategies and to communicate them to our fans, but ultimately everything we do is done in the interest of safety and protecting our fans, our facilities and our players. Baseball, unlike the other sports, we play 81 home games and that’s a pretty significant schedule, so whether it’s ensuring a 100-foot perimeter outside your building for vehicles to managing the contents that people walk into the stadium with… those are all measures we have to look at. It is only a matter of time where a walk-through metal detector is the norm at stadiums.”
Coutinho believes that stadiums across North America will begin to rely more heavily upon security technology and video surveillance, in particular, to help support their security operations. Rogers Centre uses a high-definition surveillance system from Avigilon to keep watch over the stadium, which has the capacity to hold 50,000 spectators.
“We can only train employees with so much material. At the end of the day, we’re humans, we make mistakes,” Coutinho said. “Technology can bridge that gap. Our high-definition surveillance system that we employed really makes our job that much easier because we always know we have a record of what is taking place. And whether it’s a slip-and-fall or even just an overall operational issue, we can play back the video and see what took place. We’ve gone one step further and embraced digital radio communications in the stadium and we record all of that radio communication and we can identify to each individual user. Technology is helping us become more efficient, but at the same time be able to react quicker in a response mechanism.”