Charles Green is the sole person to blame for the current halftime policy. Kinnick Stadium is a great facility to watch a football game. However, the concessions and facilities are designed for 50,000 people. That is why for many years people have chosen to exit the stadium at halftime, stretch their legs, smoke, have a beverage at their vehicle and perhaps use the facilities in a nearby building. Someone may need to change a baby's diaper. Currently, the Recreation Building is closed due to construction and remodeling. That leaves the University of Iowa Hospital as the closest place to find an acceptable bathroom.
Couldn't re-entry be limited to a certain number of gates, freeing the majority of security personnel to other duties? In addition, couldn't there be a re-entry fee of $1? The current policy is not favored by the athletic administration as it may keep kids home and ruins the family day atmosphere. This may also affect future ticket sales.
Since Mr. Green's no exit policy is based on the terrorist's attack of 9/11, I sent Mr. Green a letter asking since I don't wear a turban and I don't smuggle bourbon why can't I get out at halftime? His response follows:
Dear Mr. Crist,
I appreciate your concerns and have attached two documents to explain the UI alcohol policy as well as the no re-entry policy. I would like to clear up one misconception, it is not illegal to drink beer and wine on game day by STATE code. Iowa City has a city ordinance that prohibits the consumption of beer and wine on public property. Six years ago I personally contacted the Iowa City Attorney and asked if UI Police Officers could ignore the city ordinance and allow patrons to consume beer and wine before, during and immediately after the game; however, could our Police Officers then enforce the ordinance at other times (the University and parents do not want individuals walking around drinking beer, wine or any alcoholic beverage long after the game is over or during the week). The City Attorney stated that we could. The attached UI alcohol policy which has been in affect for the last 6 years is the result of my contact with the City Attorney. I wrote the drafts and final version that was reviewed by Athletics and UI Administration; before that there was nothing in writing that stated that patrons could even drink beer or wine. However, hard liquor is another story. By state code it is illegal to consume hard liquor on state property except those areas covered by a liquor license; our policy also reflects that reality. Even when we see hard liquor violations my instructions to my Police Officers is to have the owner simply pour it out on the ground; no charges, no arrests. With all due respect, I wouldn't ask a Police Chief to explain NCAA rules nor would I ask an Athletic Director to explain Iowa liquor laws.
As for the no re-entry policy, the only thing I can say is that anyone who believes that this is motivated by concern over someone grabbing a beer or getting a sandwich at half time just isn't paying attention. Once again, with all due respect Mr. Crist, you don't know what I know, you don't have the worries and responsibilities that I have for the security of 70,000 people, and you don't know what we go through to get ready for one single game. Law enforcement has a whole different perspective concerning large outdoor events which they are responsible for. Please read my no re-entry response.
Mr. Crist I am sure you are aware that some people have the luxury of thinking nothing has changed and they can feel that way because no one will expect them to be accountable. However, there are others who will have to make an accounting if something goes wrong; I am part of those "others." You and I don't know one another; however, I would bet the farm that we would agree on one issue. That people who say law enforcement is doing too much are some of the same people who will say they didn't do enough when they lose health, wealth or the life of a loved one.
As far as the sky boxes are concerned, believe me I am a firm believer of treating all individuals the same and have made that known. We have never been invited to patrol the private boxes and never will be. I made it clear that we would be willing to do just that some years ago. Level One where we work during the game, I assure you, the whole floor is alcohol free. I have never seen anything on that floor except water and pop. That includes the press people as well. It simply is not tolerated on our floor. If you are concerned enough about it and wanted me to get involved; I certainly would. I would need specifics from you in order to raise this issue with Athletics and our General Counsel.
My law enforcement career began as a State Trooper many years ago and I have been in law enforcement for 17 years. Mr. Crist, come to the game Saturday, come to all the games and enjoy yourself because there is still plenty to enjoy and I promise you this, I give you my sworn oath as a Police Officer that I will do my best to make you and your loved ones safe. Unfortunately for me, the sad and inescapable truth is that I still could fail and believe it or not, that truly frightens me.
Charles D. Green, Assistant Vice President and Director of Public Safety University of Iowa Department of Public Safety 323 South Madison St. Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1040 (319) 335-5026 FAX: (319) 335-5800