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The Daily News of Los Angeles
Grab your see-through tote bag or pick up a pack of clear freezer bags if you're heading to a Los Angeles Chargers preseason game next month in Carson.
The first major security upgrade in 14 years at StubHub Center was just introduced to meet NFL safety standards: Backpacks, and any nontransparent containers, are now off-limits inside the 30,000-seat stadium.
The bag policy isn't the only new security measure, but it's the only one that will be publicly announced, said Chargers spokesman Josh Rupprecht.
"While we do not discuss specifics in regard to stadium security, as those conversations actually compromise security, our standards — and those of StubHub Center — will be consistent with NFL best practices," Rupprecht said in an email.
The new bag policy was introduced on June 17, when stadium officials handed out free LA Galaxy-branded clear bags to the first 12,500 ticket holders for a home match against the Houston Dynamo.
Clear bags are also available for purchase at StubHub.
Permitted totes at all events in the Anschutz Entertainment Group-owned venue include:
• Any clear plastic or clear vinyl bag that is 12-by-6-by-12 inches or smaller
• One-gallon clear plastic freezer bags
• Small clutches the size of a hand that can fit inside a clear bag
Exceptions will be made only for "medically necessary items after proper inspection at a gate designated for this purpose," according to stadium officials.
Chargers key factor
The bag rule is routine at most concert and sporting venues, including the Rose Bowl and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where the Los Angeles Rams play.
But the home of Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy enjoyed relatively lax standards until officials began preparing for the Aug. 13 start of the Chargers first L.A. preseason in 57 years. The National Football League team decided to temporarily move to Carson earlier this year.
The Chargers played their inaugural AFL season in Los Angeles in 1960, then played in San Diego from 1961-2016, when a deal for a new stadium fell through.
The Chargers and Rams plan to move into a shared, roughly $3 billion home in Inglewood in 2020. That stadium, part of a massive entertainment and commercial development engineered by Rams owner Stan Kroenke, will play host to the 2022 Super Bowl.
"This was something we'd been talking about for a while re-evaluating our security measures," said AEG General Manager Katie Pandolfo, who runs the facility. "As we looked at NFL policies, we thought it would be good to keep things consistent. It also helps expedite getting guests inside."
Facility leaders will continue to meet with members of local public safety agencies to determine staffing for each event, Pandolfo said. Those include Los Angeles County Sheriff's and Fire department officials, city public service workers, and California Highway Patrol traffic officers.
"We take safety and security very seriously," Pandolfo said. "It's one of our top priorities. We don't speak of specific measures publicly. The NFL has a best-practices guide. We also work with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and evaluate what security measures are needed at every event."
An added benefit of the clear-bag rule, she said, is that entrance lines move faster because security officials aren't rummaging through backpacks with lots of zippered pockets.
Along with increased security, there will be added game-day free shuttle trips to the stadium.
Those will leave about every 10 minutes during games from the Harbor Gateway Transit Center at 731 W. 182nd St. and the Del Amo Station at 20220 Santa Fe Ave. Both transit centers have ample parking.
The shuttles, operated by Long Beach Transit, will begin running just before games and continue for about 45 minutes after they end.
But stadium officials said there shouldn't be any trouble finding parking (which costs $20 per vehicle) at StubHub Center, at 18400 S. Avalon Blvd.
Pandolfo said she expects Chargers games to go as smoothly as any other sold-out event at the stadium, which sits on a 125-acre complex next to Cal State Dominguez Hills.
"We have sold-out events all the time," Pandolfo said. "There are easy ways to get to the stadium with public transportation. But we're not parking any more folks than we do on a typical sold-out event."
While there is enough parking on site to handle sold-out crowds, Pandolfo said she is working with LA Metro and Long Beach Transit officials to deliver new public transit options, and to promote those more actively.
"With new fans, we have the opportunity to create new habits," she said. "Our first preseason game is in less than a month," Pandolfo said. "We're going to continue to tell people to come early for all of our sold-out events."
The Department of Homeland Security promotes security planning as a critical step to protect from homegrown attacks.
"Terrorist groups are urging recruits to adopt easy-to-use tools to target public places and events," according to a National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin from the agency. "Specific attack tactics have included the use of vehicle ramming, small arms, straight-edged blades or knives, and homemade explosives, as well as other acts such as taking hostages.
"Anticipate delays and restrictions on items around populated places and at events. Make a mental note of emergency exits and security personnel."
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