SAN DIEGO — For the thousands of fans that will attend Chargers games this season, team and NFL officials are trying to make their message clear when it comes to how items can be brought into the stadium.
Effective immediately, only clear bags will be permitted when entering any NFL stadium.
The new policy bans all large purses, backpacks, camera bags, fanny packs and other non-clear bags.
“All NFL teams are implementing a new policy with the goal of providing a safer environment, and quicker entry into all NFL stadiums,” said A.G. Spanos, the Chargers’ CEO.
The policy allows clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bags no larger than 12” x 6” x 12” only. The policy also limits one bag per fan and a clutch bag. The Chargers will have team logo bags for sale in the team store, though no price has been set yet. Spanos estimated the bags would sell for around $5 to $7 each.
Also accepted are one gallon Ziploc-style bags.
Since 2001, the NFL has enacted security postures to protect fans, said Vince delaMontaigne, NFL security representative for San Diego.
He’s held the position since 2000 after retiring from the FBI.
The security postures have grown from bag inspections following the Sept. 11 attacks to pat downs from the upper torso to pat downs of the entire body to current measures of “wanding.”
“We are doing this for the safety of our fans and public service. We want to make this a safe environment; you deserve a safe environment at an NFL game,” he said.
“This security posture has been certified by the Department of Homeland Security, the anti-terrorism certification of the Safety Act,” delaMontaigne said. “It’s the only league that has this. After the tragedy on April 15 at the Boston Marathon, and at our annual review, the security committee, which is made up of security officials at the league office, the teams and public safety officials have recommended, and it’s been approved unanimously by the 32 club owners and the commissioner of this new bag policy.”
Previously, fans have complained about the time it takes to get through security when entering the stadium on game day.
On average it takes about 20 seconds for each fan to go through security, including opening and searching bags and wanding, delaMontaigne said.
It may not sound like a lot, but 20 seconds times 60,000 people and that adds up, he added.
Officers with the MTS will also be on hand at trolley stations on game day leading to Qualcomm Stadium to help provide fans with information on the new bag policy, said Bill Burke, director of security and chief of police for MTS.