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UWRF Public Safety maintains order at Falcon sports events

November 6, 2008

For many years UW-River Falls students have piled into the stands at Ramer Field and Hunt Arena expecting to see exciting sporting events, but what many students do not realize are the security measures taken by Public Safety to protect and maintain safety at the events.

Public Safety Director Richard Trende is in charge of putting safety precautions in place at UWRF sporting events. 

“For games that we know will have a lot of people coming to, let’s say homecoming for example, we try to increase the number of Public Safety officers at the game from around two to around five or six,” Trende said. 

While one of the important duties of the officers is to maintain public safety, they also have the responsibility of controlling traffic. 

“With homecoming games and games against rivals, the parking lots get pretty full and can be hectic for everyone,” Trende said. “So another important duty for Public Safety and the security officers is to maintain order and control.”

Jeremy Wagner, a former UWRF student and Public Safety employee, said he remembers how busy the traffic could get at the UWRF events.

“I’ve been to football games as a fan and I have worked in the parking lot at some of the busy events,” Wagner said. “It can take a lot of work to keep the traffic in order.”

Order and control are some of the measures that Falcon football head coach John O’Grady said he appreciates about security at football games. 

“I think our security officers do a great job even though we don’t have many security problems to begin with,” O’Grady said. 

O’Grady has been coaching the Falcons for the past 20 years and has seen many football games played at Ramer Field. Throughout his years as a player and as the head coach of the Falcons, he can only remember one real threat to the public’s safety. 

“About the only problem I can ever remember was a fire that started in the field east of the stadium,” O’Grady said referring to a game in 1972. “It ignited as a result of sparks from the cannon that we used to fire following Falcon touchdowns.”

No injuries occurred during the fire.

With the athletic seasons beginning to turn and the UWRF Public Safety department beginning the transition to change into a certified police force, Trende said he believes the safety at UWRF sporting events will become even better. 

“With Public Safety’s switch to a police force, that will give us more control in adding more of our own security officers for the games,” he said.