By Ashley Dunkak
COMERICA PARK (CBS DETROIT) – Eventually, Detroit Tigers fans should experience no more than a five- to seven-minute delay because of the Comerica Park’s new walk-through metal detectors, vice president of park operations Mike Healy said Friday.
Since people tend to enter the ballpark at the last minute on Opening Day, however, the Tigers expect slightly more significant delays Monday, so the gates will open two hours before first pitch – rather than the usual hour and a half – to compensate.
Major League Baseball is implementing metal detectors at all its parks, so every team will have enhanced security in place for the 2015 season. Detroit is one of several clubs that will begin using metal detectors in 2014. Healy said the Tigers have been conducting analysis over the last few years to see how best to enhance security, and the walk-through detectors seemed a better option than hand-held ones.
“Hand wand … you’re leaving it up to your staff to be able to do it correctly, it takes a little longer, and we noticed that people back up into the lines and they get a little more frustrated,” Healy said. “With doing it this way, we do have a secondary area, so if you come through and you set it off and we can’t figure out what it is, we will pull you to the side and we have hand wands, but it won’t stop the rest of the flow of the general public coming through.”
The list of prohibited items at the ballpark has remained the same, and bag screenings will continue. Ballpark staff have trained on the operation of the new metal detectors, and after a week or so, Healy expects the process will be a smooth one. Overall, he perceived the additional security would not be too much of an inconvenience, and he pointed out it is not as extensive as it is at other venues.
“We’re not doing [like] some of the other venues, U of M, Michigan State University, where you’re not allowed bags and things like that,” Healy said. “We feel it’s important, we’re very fan-friendly, we’re very – when it comes to kids, we understand that parents need diaper bags and supplies and things like that, and we’re not going to curtail any of that.”