Thursday, April 26, 2018
Public safety

Wand searches now required for fans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers home games

TAMPA — Security screenings that for six seasons forced Tampa Bay Buccaneer fans to submit to patdown searches at the stadium end today — replaced instead with sweeps from magnetic wands.

The required wandings at Raymond James Stadium were announced Thursday by the Tampa Sports Authority. They begin with the preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at 7:30 p.m. today.

With exceptions for medical reasons, fans who refuse to be wanded will not be let in the stadium, the authority said.

"We're optimistic that as fans get accustomed to this procedure, it will result in less time in line and smaller crowds at the gate prior to kickoff," said Mickey Farrell, operations director at the stadium, in a statement. "And as always, we encourage fans to give themselves a little extra time when planning their arrival."

A pilot program began at the end of last season at several stadium gates, said Barbara Casey, a spokeswoman for the authority.

"The response has been very positive. Some people don't particularly like to be touched," she said. "Everyone wants to come and feel safe and comfortable. We are just trying to facilitate that."

If the Bucs sell out a home games, there will be 270 wands in use, Casey said.

Ending the patdown policy comes years after the sports authority won a lengthy court battle to keep the practice in place.

In 2005, the NFL mandated patdowns for all its team venues.

That same year, Bucs season ticket-holder Gordon Johnston filed a lawsuit calling the patdown an infringement on his Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Local courts agreed with him. But when the case climbed to higher appellate levels, panels ruled that anyone who had bought a ticket had agreed to a patdown search. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case in 2009.

Johnston, 67, a civics teacher at Tampa Bay Technical High School, said Thursday he hasn't been to a game in five years.

"Definitely, wanding is better," Johnston said. "Now, I'll consider going to some games."

Wand searches, which are used to detect metal, will be mandatory for all fans except those with pacemakers and other heart issues.

With the change in policy also comes a change in funding, Casey said.

The NFL purchased the first 100 magnetic wands. And Casey said the sports authority, a public agency, has an agreement with the Bucs that the team would pay the costs of anything over the price of the patdown searches.

That means the majority of the cost of converting to magnetic wands was absorbed by organizations other than the TSA.

Johnston said that's good news.

"I didn't like that the taxpayers had to pay for something that the NFL decided was necessary," he said.

Comments
Deputy, another driver injured when car strikes patrol vehicle

Deputy, another driver injured when car strikes patrol vehicle

LARGO — A Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy and another driver were injured when a sports car hit a sheriff’s sport-utility vehicle on Thursday evening, according to the Sheriff’s Office.Both were expected to survive.The crash took place just after 6 ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Police announce two more arrests in St. Pete strip club shooting

Police announce two more arrests in St. Pete strip club shooting

ST. PETERSBURG — Two more arrests were made recently in connection with the April 2 shooting death of a man outside an unlicensed adult entertainment venue on Fourth Street S, police said.Rodriguez Green, 24, of Largo and Darius Trennell Collins, 23,...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Hernando High student accused of threatening to shoot up school

Hernando High student accused of threatening to shoot up school

BROOKSVILLE — A 17-year-old Hernando High School student was arrested Wednesday for threatening to shoot people at the school, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.The student was serving a suspension at the time of the incident, deputie...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Details emerge in fiery crash that killed prominent Moffitt doctor

TEMPLE TERRACE — Investigators say an orange Dodge Charger was moving about 90 mph when it ran a red light and broadsided a prominent doctor’s car last month on Fowler Avenue. The impact caused Dr. Charles Canaan Williams’ Acura to...
Updated: 6 hours ago
St. Pete police: Man who stole car with baby inside arrested

St. Pete police: Man who stole car with baby inside arrested

ST. PETERSBURG — A man accused of stealing a car with a baby inside earlier this week was arrested Thursday morning when officers spotted him in another stolen car, according to St. Petersburg police.Rashad Webb, 19, was arrested at about 2 a.m. afte...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Long wait at Wingstop ends in brawl, hot oil and second degree burns

Long wait at Wingstop ends in brawl, hot oil and second degree burns

TAMPA — A customer visited Wingstop on Sunday night to pick up his order. What happened next was off-menu:Robert Williams said he suffered second-degree burns on his back and legs after a Wingstop employee threw hot oil on him during a scuffle.Willia...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Orlando man sought in Interstate 4 carjackings captured in Tampa

Orlando man sought in Interstate 4 carjackings captured in Tampa

TAMPA — A 43-year-old Orlando man who was being sought in a string of carjackings along Interstate 4 was captured on Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Majar L. Jones, 43, was considered armed and dangerous and the subjec...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Florida has one of the highest rates of fatal hit-and-run crashes, study finds

Florida has one of the highest rates of fatal hit-and-run crashes, study finds

Florida is among the top three states with the highest per capita rates of fatal hit-and-run crashes, a new study published on Thursday by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found.From 2006 to 2016, the organization examined hit-and-run crashes in...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Florida man pours gasoline and sets girlfriend on fire, police say

Florida man pours gasoline and sets girlfriend on fire, police say

GAINESVILLE — A 55-year-old Florida man is accused of pouring gasoline on his girlfriend and setting her on fire.Gainesville police arrest report says Roosevelt Kitchen was charged with attempted murder. He was being held Thursday on a $1 million bon...
Updated: 12 hours ago
FHP identifies driver in crash that killed

FHP identifies driver in crash that killed "smiling" teen

TRINITY — Friends said what they’ll remember the most about Lillia Morris is that she was always smiling.The 17-year-old Mitchell High School junior was killed Tuesday when a sport-utility vehicle ran a red light on State Road 54 and slammed into the...
Published: 04/26/18