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Security tight at spring football game

Published On: Apr 21 2013 03:05:39 AM CDT
Updated On: Apr 21 2013 04:58:47 AM CDT

MADISON, Wis. -

In light of Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing, event security, especially at major, crowded occasions, will tend to be tighter.

Such was the case at Saturday’s Badger football spring game.

Badger fans Andy Herdina and his wife weren’t the only ones in attendance at Saturday’s game who were a little nervous about being part of a large crowd.

"Makes you kind of nervous that any of those things could happen at any time around here," said Herdina.

The spring game doesn’t attract as big a crowd as a fall Badger game, but with the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent manhunt fresh in everyone’s mind, it was important for stadium officials to make sure patrons at Saturday's game felt safe.

And that meant stepping up security.

Which was just fine with most fans.

"The public obviously understands what happened in Boston and were very cooperative with us today," said Lt. Jason Whitney of the UW Police Department.

Fans were cooperative as security personnel checked jackets and bags perhaps a little more thoroughly than usual.

"We do see a lot of people try to bring backpacks in and that sort of thing," said Lt. Whitney.

Additional officers manned the gates for an overall tighter security than what is normal for the annual spring game.

Both of the station's bomb-sniffing K-9 units were also outside of the stadium.

Though prepared to act if need be, the officers on site hoped and prayed that the only screams they heard from the stands were from cheering fans.

"It's definitely a game-changer for us," said Lt. Whitney. "It's stuff that we've thought about for many years as far as bombings and that sort of thing. But once it happens, and how does it happen, and how does it impact everybody definitely changes things up for us."

In the big picture, most felt that Monday's events weren't going to change their habits.

"Security is probably going to step up more at these kinds of events, but it's not going to deter me from going to them," said Herdina.

Fortunately, there was nothing out of the ordinary at Camp Randall on Saturday, but the spring game crowd is just a warm-up not only for the football team but also for campus police.

The crowd was only about half of what officers will see next weekend for the Crazylegs event.

UW Police will work out those security plans over the course of the week.

Officers can and will control who gets in and out of Camp Randall, the site of the finish line of the race.

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