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NFL Response to Weapon Carry at Venues

Dear Mr. Terreri:

 

Thank you for your letter of November 4, 2013 to Commissioner Goodell regarding the NFL's policy restricting firearms and other weapons inside NFL stadiums and facilities. As I hope you and members of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association appreciate, the NFL has the highest regard for all law enforcement officers, as well as full confidence in their ability to enforce the law and protect public safety.

The NFL's policy regarding firearms was adopted only after a great deal of consideration and consultation with a wide range of law enforcement personnel and security experts.  Recognizing that reasonable people may hold a different view, the NFL believes the safest environment for all fans is achieved by limiting the number of firearms and weapons inside stadiums to those required by officers that perform specifically assigned law enforcement working functions and game day duties.

On average, more than 500 civilian security personnel and 150 on-duty local,state and federal law enforcement officers were assigned to protect public safety and enforce the law at every NFL game in 2012. On-duty law enforcement officers assigned working functions at NFL stadiums are specially trained and required to participate in weekly meetings involving pre game day and game day security and law enforcement planning, strategy and emergency response procedures and protocols. The officers know one another, work together on a regular basis, and have specific game day assignments, responsibilities and duties.

As you may be aware, the NFL's Best Practices for Stadium Security provide for comprehensive security screening of all individuals, as well as their personal belongings before they are permitted inside stadiums. As a result, the likelihood of the need for law enforcement to use deadly force inside an NFL stadium is extremely remote.  NFL fans, including off-duty law enforcement officers that attend NFL games do so in one of the safest environments available to attend a professional sporting event.
Accordingly, the NFL does not believe that off-duty officers are at risk if not permitted to arm themselves inside NFL stadiums.

The NFL is keenly aware that there have been terrorist acts at sporting events across the world and that NFL stadiums are high value targets for terrorism.  With that knowledge, the NFL monitors very closely intelligence pertaining to the threat of terrorism and maintains a vigorous league-wide stadium security program. The NFL's Best Practices for Stadium Securit y has been "Designated" and "Certified" by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002 ("the SAFETY Act"). The Department of Homeland Security's Office of SAFETY Act Implementation has designated the NFL's Best Practices "Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technology."

Independent of the debate as to whether all law enforcement ageneies have specific policies prohibiting armed off-duty officers from consuming alcohol, or whether armed off-duty officers are held to the same level of accountability with respect to on-duty department or agency policies that restrict the use of alcohol or require other behavior standards, off-duty law enforcement officers that attend NFL football games do so as spectators. They are unknown to working law enforcement officers. They may not have the same training and do not participate in the weekly preparation meetings. They also create a burden on the security screening personnel required to accurately identify, verify and authenticate multiple local, state and federal local law enforcement agency badges and credentials.
Moreover, off-duty law enforcement officers are not included in the on-site law enforcement chain of command.

The NFL's concerns regarding deconfliction issues and the potential for "blue-on-blue" response confrontations if off-duty law enforcement officers are permitted to carry weapons inside NFL stadiums are real. The suggestion that a log of seat numbers, colored bracelets, or stickers of the day will safely identify off-duty officers in the heat of battle during a deadly force confrontation is unrealistic.

I am happy to engage you in a cooperative way regarding this matter and I request your support in assisting the NFL and the many federal,state and local law enforcement agencies across the country that provide the safest, most secure environment possible for the public to enjoy NFL football.  Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss this matter further.

Best regards,

Jeffrey B. Miller
Vice President and Chief Security Officer