Guests attending events at two of downtown Spokane's busiest venues may notice some new security measures the next time they head to a Chiefs game, concert or Broadway show.
A few weeks ago both the Spokane Arena
and the INB Performing Arts Center
rolled out new security measures
, including walk-through metal detectors at entrances, as part of ongoing efforts to create a safer environment at the two facilities managed by the Spokane Public Facilities District
Public Facilities District CEO Kevin Twohig says the new protocols have been implemented not in response to any specific local or national event, but "certainly in response to what is going on nationally and internationally."
"We pay attention to events on an international basis, and when sports and entertainment venues have become the target of attacks, we felt that we needed to step up and prevent that from happening in Spokane," Twohig continues.
The Spokane Arena and INB PAC have always been weapons-free premises, he explains, but now with the walk-through metal detectors, event staff are able to better enforce that policy.
Because of these new security measures, guests should take the following tips into consideration when they attend an event at either venue: only bring essential items
with you (purse, wallet, phone, keys, etc.), and leave ALL weapons at home
(firearms, pocketknives, pepper spray, wallet chains). Cameras with detachable lenses are also not permitted;
any devices separate from a mobile device must be small enough to fit in a front pants pocket.
While both venues have increased event staffing with the goal of offering a smooth transition into these new standards, guests are advised to arrive early. Doors usually open one hour prior to events at both facilities, and it's suggested that attendees arrive no later than 30 minutes before an event's scheduled start time.
Using metal detectors to screen incoming guests is not totally new for the PFD, as event staff at both venues have often used hand-held, wand-style detectors at the doors. Twohig says in most cases organizers of events require the venues' security staff to check all guests.
So far, the response from guests has been mostly positive.
"It's been almost 99 percent that have been very strongly in favor. It gives them a stronger sense of personal safety, but there are people who don't think it's a good policy, or they don't like how we're implementing it," Twohig says.
"We're trying to create a great guest experience, so if someone really needs to bring something in we'll talk to them and try and figure something out," he adds.
Plans to implement similar security improvements at the PFD-managed Spokane Convention Center
have not yet been determined. Twohig says that because most events there are spread out across the more than 650,000-square-foot venue, it's treated differently than the Arena or INB, where guests are all gathered in one large space. However, wand-type detectors have been used, and will continue to be when needed, at the Convention Center.
The main takeaway of this new development? If you're going to a concert, a sports event or a musical, arrive plenty early, and don't bring guns, large bags or big cameras.