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Heightened security at football game pays off

POSTED October 17, 2009 1:40 a.m.
Before the first football was sent spiraling into the air at the Harvest Bowl Friday night a game plan was being put into place to make sure that all the action stayed on the field.
Since its inception six years ago, the cross-town rivalry being played out on the gridiron always required a bit more security than a normal Friday night football game. But after a few unruly incidences at last year’s game, the Turlock Unified School District decided that implementing a few more security measures was a necessary course of action.
Those precautions seemed to have served them well. There were no major, or for that matter, minor incidences to mar the fun for the football fans and the spirited high school students.
“I’m pleased that there were no major problems and that the precautions we took with the school district have worked out well,” said Turlock Police Sgt. Miguel Pacheco, who helped coordinate the game security.
Perhaps the key factor in keeping the peace during Friday night’s game was keeping the two schools separate. Turlock had their side and their own entrance, and Pitman had theirs and never shall the two meet — at least not in and around the stands.
The school district also limited ticket sales to presale only, which capped the attendance at 5,000 and helped security stay visible within the masses.
A visible security presence was certainly the rule of the night. The school district routinely contracts with the Turlock Police Department to provide a few officers at each football game. For Friday’s showdown the number was increased to seven and there were a number of campus security officers patrolling the stands as well.
Additionally, the “Party Patrol,” a group of multiple law enforcement agencies targeting underage drinking and funded by an Alcohol Beverage Control grant, made an appearance at the game.
“It’s a sea of security tonight,” Pacheco said of their presence.
By the end of the night, when the final seconds had lapsed and the fans were filing out the gates, the school district and the police department could rest easy that a night of spirit and frivolity had remained a safe one as well.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.
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