More officers assigned to Oriole Park duty Monday than in the rest of the city.

POLICE IN FORCE:

April 03, 1992|By Roger Twigg | Roger Twigg,Staff Writer

If you are among the 48,000 people attending the Orioles' opening game Monday against the Cleveland Indians, you will be happy to know that more than 275 police officers will be there to protect you and President Bush.

However, if you happen to be among the city residents outside a 3/4 -square-mile radius of the stadium, you might find yourself asking, "Where are all the police officers?"

That's because fewer than 180 officers -- or about 100 fewer than the number assigned to the stadium -- will be patrolling the rest of the city.

During the Oriole exhibition game today against the New York Mets -- when ticket sales will be limited to 32,000 to allow stadium officials to test operating procedures -- there will be about 200 officers providing security and traffic control.

As a result, the number of officers available for patrol in each of the nine police districts will be less than normal, according to a police official, who requested anonymity.

Police officials have refused to reveal the number of officers being assigned to the stadium, saying that the information might compromise security.

But Lt. Col. Joseph P. Newman did not challenge the figures obtained by The Evening Sun.

"I believe they are accurate," Colonel Newman said.

Some police officials questioned the need for so many officers at the stadium, especially when the department already is below strength.

pTC "If we have a major fire, chemical spill, hostage situation, or any other major problem, the city is going to suffer because there will not be enough officers to handle the situation," a police source said.

The police force is several hundred officers below its authorized strength. Consequently, there aren't always enough officers to answer immediate calls.

The police official said that in addition to the officers already assigned to the stadium, supervisors in each district also have been instructed to keep about half their officers on standby for possible stadium duty.

"It used to be that we had a [staff] cushion that we could rely on," the police source said, adding: "Budget cutbacks have kept us working on the edge all the time as it is."

Colonel Newman, who is in charge of the stadium detail, said that contingency plans have been developed in case there is a need to dispatch officers from the stadium.

The salaries of those officers assigned to work inside the stadium will be paid by the Maryland Stadium Authority, Colonel Newman said.

Ten lieutenants, 28 sergeants, 179 on-duty officers and 48 off-duty officers called in to work will receive overtime pay for stadium duty Monday.

They will arrive at staggered times beginning at 11 a.m. Most of them are being drawn from the traffic, tactical and special operations sections.

District commanders in the Central and Southern districts -- the districts closest to the stadium -- have also been instructed to assign a total of two sergeants and 13 officers to stadium duty.

There also will be 15 auxiliary officers and 34 traffic agents from the city Department of Transportation.

A police major will be assigned to supervise security operations inside the stadium, another outside the ballpark and several captains at other key spots.

Officers will be assigned within the 3/4 -square-mile radius of the stadium to provide security for the landing of Mr. Bush's helicopter and his motorcade to the ballpark.

Just how many officers will be assigned to the stadium for future Oriole games is not yet known.

"There will be an evaluation made after the Orioles' first seven-game homestand," Colonel Newman said.

"Obviously, we won't need as many officers as [are needed for] the opening game because the president won't be there," he said.

Figures for the number of officers assigned to baseball games at Memorial Stadium were not available, officials said.

Colonel Newman said, "everyone is expecting a catastrophe. I think it is going to go along a lot smoother than they think."

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