Chicopee reexamines security measures at high school sporting events
CHICOPEE, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - After two separate incidents at Chicopee Comprehensive High School football games this year, including a gun drawn in the stands on Thanksgiving, city leaders are developing a plan to improve safety measures moving forward.
Western Mass News has learned a meeting was held in Chicopee last week, and on Monday, we spoke with the athletic director in neighboring Springfield who constantly oversees high profile football games. We talked about what security measures they have in place.
“It is an urban district, and they face a lot of the same similar challenges that we do in Springfield, so to see the events that happened at the Sword Game were pretty disappointing,” said Springfield Public Schools Athletic Director Dwayne Early.
A scary scene broke out at the Sword Game, the annual Chicopee High vs. Chicopee Comp. high school football game held on Thanksgiving, where two 19 year-olds were arrested after a gun was drawn. That incident came just weeks after police investigated a fight between a 12-year-old and two 16-year-olds.
“We don’t allow any bags into our football facility,” Early told us. “We make sure everyone’s wanded.”
He knows a thing or two about security for high-profile sporting events in western Mass. The Springfield Public Schools athletic director outlined for us the procedures in place at every Springfield Central football and basketball game.
Officials in the Chicopee mayor’s office confirmed that there was a meeting held last Wednesday. Mayor John Vieau, the city’s police and fire chiefs, the interim superintendent, and other school officials were in attendance.
Early told Western Mass News that they constantly evaluate security in Springfield, especially for high-profile games similar to the Sword Game between the crosstown rivals in Chicopee that led to last week’s meeting.
“If there’s a high-level game or a high stakes game, a game that we think is a rivalry, we will add layers of security,” he said. “We also have policies and procedures that are in place and mechanisms that the public doesn’t know about so we can just try to stay ahead of everything that could possibly happen.”
Chicopee city officials also added that possible security changes could be seen for basketball games in the winter, but not hockey as those games are all played off-site and all follow the rink’s security requirements.
We received a statement from Chicopee Mayor John Vieau, outlining a list of considerations that came out of last week’s meeting.
- mandating ID’s at all school functions
- use of metal detectors and/or wands at the event entrances
- banning all bags and backpacks.
- all middle school and younger students to be accompanied by an adult
We’ll keep you updated on those developments.
Copyright 2022. Western Mass News (WGGB/WSHM). All rights reserved.