Increased security, law enforcement in downtown Tampa for Lightning hockey season opener

Some fans want TSA style checks outside arena
Posted at 4:54 PM, Oct 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-06 18:33:52-04

It’s been five days since a crazed gunman opened fire on thousands of people attending a country music festival in Las Vegas, but people heading out to downtown Tampa tonight are still concerned about their safety.

“I’m excited for tonight…But, I think there should be more security,” Sophia Carbone said.  

Carbone and another University of Tampa student Adriana Camarena both agreed that they want to have fun at tonight’s game and feel safe.

“I do think just like little more security, metal detectors, pat you down really quickly,” Camarena said. “It is a really fine line between, oh there is way too much security, and oh I just want to go out and enjoy the game. At the end of the day coming out to a game is supposed to be a really fun time and just enjoy the people you are with. It’s just a tragedy it could turn so badly.”

Lighting officials said there will be more personnel at Friday’s game versus the Florida Panthers. And they are asking fans to be vigilant as well.

Following the shooting in Las Vegas, Mary Milne the VP of Guest Experience for the Tampa Bay Lightning said they reevaluated their security plan.

“The reality is we felt it was appropriate to take some of our staffing levels up a bit,” Milne said.

Interim Police Chief Brian Dugan said they won’t talk specifics about their security plans or procedures, but it is safe to say they will be closely monitoring high rises around Curtis Hixon Park and Amalie Arena.

“We always look at our scenarios if we were the bad guys how would we go about looking at things,” Dugan said.

Tampa's hosted a number of high profile events from the Super Bowl to the College Football National Championship. And, Dugan says yearly events like Gasparilla are also systematically planned in advance for every scenario law enforcement can think of.