Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht says the EPS is prepared for next month’s opening of the downtown arena, but he’s anticipating some ‘sleepless nights’ for the early days as Rogers Place opens.
Some of the lost sleep has to do with worrying about not having enough.
City council did give Chief Knecht money to add forty officers. However being a 24/7 operation means 40 officers really are seven or eight at any one time, and not only having 20,000 in the building counting staff, but the potential all around in the Ice District.
“Thirty, forty, fifty, sixty thousand people at it. Seven more police officers — I don’t know if it makes a big dent. So are we concerned? Yes we are. Have we asked for more resources? Yes we have. We do have a plan, we’re going to see how things unfold.”
Knecht says they are concerned they may still have to pull other officers from far flung detachments.
On top of the added police in downtown division, Oilers Entertainment Group will have 300 security staff on hand. Kevin Kobi, the director of security for Rogers Place says, like at Rexall, you’ll have to go through metal detectors to get into the building.
“There’s two primary entrances to Rogers Place, there’s the Winter Garden so at that location we have upwards of 30 gates and depending on the scale and the scope of event all gates may be open or there may be a certain number of those gates that may be open. Then we have the mezzanine entrance off the (Metro Line) LRT side of Rogers Place that the public can come to.”
Kobi says the process is going to be very simple, where people are coming up to the metal detectors.
“There’s a divesting table and they’re placing their cell phone and their keys in that divesting table. We’ve taken steps to have signage so it’s clear for people what they should retain on their person and what they should be putting on the divesting table and we also have hosts out there that are going to help people prepare for that.”
He says they’ve built on the experiences that have occurred over the past year at Rexall Place and cemented what they learned into Rogers Place. (sj)