After former Head Coach Bobby Petrino was fired in the spring, questions arose about the sideline security detail for the new coach and the Razorback football team.
The uncertainty came after the commander of the Arkansas State Police Troop L in Springdale self-reported certain ethical violations, including taking football tickets and other gifts while providing Petrino security.
Since then, there have been changes in how the state police provide sideline security.
“Around 210 police officers all together, and that’s inside and outside,” said UA police Lt. Gary Crain of the overall security detail.
State police, University of Arkansas police and officers from the Fayetteville Police Department all provide security at Razorback home games.
“We do have a small group of officers actually inside the stadium,” said Fayetteville Sgt. Craig Stout. “We also have our motor units provide escorts for the team and from the games.”
Inside the stadium, uniformed UA police and state police are on the field with the team and the coach.
“State police officers are assigned, and there are other officers assigned around the perimeter of the field,” said UA Lt. Gary Crain.
In that respect, security at home games hasn’t changed. But after Petrino was fired, the state police put a stop to using troop commanders for out-of-state games, or for games outside their jurisdiction.
“What the change with the state police is, is just in the personnel,” Crain said. “There will still be an Arkansas State Police officer with the coach and team, but there won’t be the commander of that area.”
The coach sill has uniformed police security in the stadium, on the sidelines and as he leaves the field. Crain says there’s never been an attack of any kind, but the crowd can get out of control.
“There have been items thrown not directly at a coach, but in general, and that’s something that can not happen,” Crain said. “You can’t have people throwing stuff on the playing field.”
Security isn’t limited to uniformed officers. In the past plain clothed officers have also roamed in the stands.