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You can't see it, but security stepped up for Series

21

October

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays hadn't even clinched a playoff berth when authorities began planning  heightened security around Tropicana Field weeks ago. Now that the World Series is here, expect  stepped-up security.

Not that anyone will notice.

"It'll be stepped up, but you may not see it," said police spokesman Bill Proffitt. "There's a lot of things going on behind the scenes. It may look the same as Game 7 of the (American League Championship Series), but there's a lot more going on."

But some things will be visible, like more officers. The St. Petersburg Police Department has canceled all days off today and Thursday for Games 1 and 2. Day-shift officers will work the night shift. The city, however, will remain fully staffed.

When the Rays opened up closed sections of the Trop for Games 6 and 7 of the ALCS the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office sent deputies to help with the additional 6,000 fans and 2,000 vehicles. They'll do so again, and Proffitt thinks the Trop may also beef up its own security staff.

"You may see an officer in every section," Proffitt said.

But much of the additional security will not be seen. Proffit said Major League Baseball will bring in its own security team. Then there will be plainclothes officers outside the Trop looking for purveyors of unapproved merchandise inside the "Clean Zone." Ticket scalping has also been banned at the Trop.

Fans entering the game shouldn't notice anything different either. There won't be any patdowns, but as usual, make sure you offer up all bags for inspection.

Federal law enforcement agencies will also pitch in, though Proffitt declined to identify any except the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which will search the Trop before each game with  bomb-sniffing dogs.

Even fewer will get to glimpse the subemergency operations center at police headquarters, where top emergency and city officials have run everything behind the scenes. "We were aware minute by minute of everything going on in the city," said Proffitt, "and everything going on inside the Trop."

Authorities are expecting a tamer crowd than the Rays/Red Sox throng.

“We’re dealing with a different fan base,” Proffitt said. “We’re dealing with a lot of corporate people, a lot of business people, a lot of people that may not neccessarily be fanatical Rays or Philly fans."

Less partisanship, Profitt said, could lead to fewer ejections.

Jamal Thalji, Times Staff Writer

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[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:42am]

    

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