Keeping the peace at the big games

“Officer safety is my number one concern,” says Dave Prout, staff sergeant for the U of S Campus Safety Department. “With only a handful of special constables monitoring several thousand fans, situations like this can be very challenging.”

Prout is referring to Campus Safety's role in policing Griffiths Stadium during Husky football home games. "We bring in extra staff just for these events so we can be present at the stadium and still maintain a full complement of on campus peace officers to take care of the day-to-day duties on campus."

Volunteering to work extra shifts and attend a football game doesn't sound bad, though "there is often too much going on in the stands to pay attention to the game," says Prout. Some officers in particular enjoy the intense game-day environment, even if the football game is only in the background. Though as the colder months approach, the job becomes much more difficult: "We issue each officer every piece of warm clothing we have in stock." This was especially important during the Vanier Cup national final played at Griffiths Stadium five years ago when the temperature at game time was minus 21.

With an expanding stadium, the number of Huskies fans in attendance has risen steadily, which has kept Campus Safety increasingly busy over the years, says Prout. "We've dealt with fights, streakers, alcohol offences, medical emergencies - really anything of any concern is ours to deal with." Even after the final whistle has blown, Prout's team still has to help clear the stands and direct traffic out of the stadium and off on its way. "Again as long as my staff is all in one piece, I call that a success".

The Huskies play their final regular season home game Oct. 14 at 7 pm against the University of Calgary Dinos.

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