A litany of strict security measures will be used at Dodger Stadium for the first time Thursday night as part of a zero-tolerance policy toward misbehaving fans.
The measures include having off-duty police officers who are normally hired by the Dodgers for security in uniform; stationing Los Angeles Police Department officers at stadium entrances and exits; and strictly enforcing the stadium's long-standing no-tailgating policy.
Large numbers of LAPD officers will be deployed at Dodger Stadium throughout the eight-game homestand that begins with Thursday night’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals. The increased security is in response to the opening-day attack in a stadium parking lot left San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow in a coma.
“This is what you'll see when you go into Dodger Stadium: The first thing you do when you get off a freeway off-ramp or get on a major street that leads towards Dodger Stadium, you're going to see a Los Angeles police car,'' LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said. “You're going to see a Los Angeles police officer in that car. When you go through the stadium gates, you're going to see Los Angeles police officers again, monitoring activity, making sure fans are safe."
Beck added that LAPD officers will enforce the no-tailgating policy in the parking lots around the stadium and around the Elysian Park area.
“Inside the stadium, again, uniformed police officers that will help to enforce what has always been this stadium's fan code of conduct,” said Beck. “If you're unruly, if you're threatening, if you're making comments that would lead to violence, you'll be ejected. And if they arise to a criminal level, you'll be arrested. You'll see officers at all the entrances and all the turnstiles.''
Beck also said the stadium parking lots would be brightly lit.
The Dodgers also hired former LAPD Chief William Bratton as a consultant to review security at the stadium in response to the attack on Stow.
Volunteers from Stow's employer, American Medical Response, will collect donations tonight from fans to the Bryan Stow Fund. Messages will be played on the DodgerVision board to let fans know they can make contributions online at www.sfpcu.org.
A crowd of between 30,000 and 40,000 is expected tonight, as the Dodgers pay tribute to the Lakers, with fans receiving purple and gold caps and former Laker center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and former coach Bill Sharman throwing out ceremonial first pitches.
The attack on Stow was the latest in a series of incidents that have damaged Dodger Stadium's reputation.
The Dodgers forfeited a game in 1995 when fans threw baseballs that had been given away onto the field following the ninth-inning ejection of leadoff hitter Raul Mondesi and manager Tommy Lasorda.
A fan was shot and killed in a Dodger Stadium parking lot in 2003, the lone homicide in the history of the stadium, which opened in 1962.
A short-lived promotion in 2005 in which some tickets were reduced to $2 became dubbed “$2 Riot Night'' by a fan who sent an e-mail to the Los Angeles Times, and “Fight Night Tuesdays'' by a security guard, prompted an increase in security and an executive to declare the team had a “zero-tolerance policy'' regarding fan misbehavior.
At the Dodgers' 2009 home opener, a 30-year-old man was stabbed in a stadium parking lot following the game. Defendant Arthur Anthony Alvarez was eventually found not guilty of an assault with a deadly weapon charge after claiming self-defense.
There were 132 arrests for suspicion of drinking in public around Dodger Stadium at the 2010 opener.