Bengals fans are excited about Saturday's playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But for law enforcement, it's just another day at the office.
Hamilton County Sheriff's Lieutenant Dave Daughtery says deputies, troopers, and police officers have been keeping the peace at Paul Brown Stadium for years.
“This year we’ve had three prime time games: Monday night, Thursday night, I think there was a Sunday night game," Daughtery says. "There’s really no difference. We have our staffing in place. We have our weekly meetings. We have a partnership with the city, with the federal agency. This is more of a regional effort on the law enforcement side. We all work collaboratively and we do have it down to a science.”
Daughtery says the security measures in place for regular season games will still be in effect for Saturday's match-up. He says fans should be familiar with at least one of the security measures.
“What’s called the clear-bag policy, where we can be able to see the contents of the bag," Daughtery says. "Then the purpose of the bag is to get people through the checkpoints quicker. Leave your large items like backpacks and purses in your car."
Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Chris Matzen says rain is expected on Saturday, and US Bank Arena has an event, so people should plan ahead.
He says fans shouldn’t “come 15 minutes to half an hour before kick-off and think 'I’m just going to waltz right into my parking spot and into my seat.' They really have to make an afternoon or evening of it. Come in advance.”
Kick-off is at 8:15 Saturday evening. For some fans that means plenty of time for tailgating and drinking.
Matzen says officers and deputies will be keeping an eye on parking lots.
He says some parking lots that host tailgate parties hire officers or deputies or private security, but not all.
“We’re not necessarily in every lot or in every corner of the tailgate," Matzen says. "If we do get a complaint we do respond in, or we do take a look a something.”
Cincinnati Police Sergeant Greg Lewton says the Bengals and the NFL have taken a proactive approach to keeping drunk and disorderly fans out of the stadium as well.
“We don’t have as many arrests as we used to have. 23 years ago, we were dragging guys out to jail," Lewton says. "It just doesn’t happen any more.”
Lewton says the Bengals' private security teams often deal with problems within the stadium before they rise to the level where police are needed.