DUNCAN, S.C. (WSPA) – High school football returned Friday across the Upstate. Several schools geared up for their first game of the season and implemented new safety protocols.
In the wake of the new season, with highly anticipated action and celebrations, police and district leaders said safety is a top priority across the Upstate.
“We are making sure that everyone that comes in here is safe. They leave and they return home safe as they should me. We have officers are watching for anything that doesn’t seem right, act right or feel right,” said Chief Shandrell Holcombe, Duncan Police.
Spartanburg District Five leaders said increased security measures are in place for the the season, including upgraded metal detectors.
Byrnes High School implemented the use of new metal detectors with quicker and easier technology that allowed allows fans the option to not empty their pockets.
“We have been doing metal detectors for several years. This year we have a new system called Open Gate and it allows us to screen people a whole lot quicker and send people through a whole lot quicker without having to empty their pockets,” said Ryan Cothran, director of Safety and Emergency Services, Spartanburg District 5.
Spartanburg County School District 5 also implement a clear bag policy for the season.
The districts asked any attendees if they did not have a clear bag to leave all belongings in their car.
Police said there will also be a heavier law enforcement presence on-site at games.
“We have officers in the parking lots roving, we have officers at the entrances, we have officers at the exits, they are at the concession stands, they are at the restrooms, and they are on the hills. If there is a spot that can keep you safe, we have an officer there,” said Chief Holcombe.
This comes as fights broke out last week at an Upstate high school football jamboree.
Ryan Cothran, the district’s director of safety and emergency services, said officers will be at the game making sure fans are not loitering.
“That’s always a concern for ball games. We’ve always been prepared for that kind of incident happening. We have, usually from 18-20 officers working the game, including our school resource officers, plus outside agency officers working the game,” said Cothran.
The increased safety protocols were something fans said is reassuring.
“It definitely makes be feel safer. I feel like we are secure and I think that we will be okay,” said Hannah Hull, Byrnes High School student.
“We just want everybody to be careful and be safe. Go somewhere, enjoy Friday night football, forget the pains of the world and just have fun,” said Chief Holcombe.
According to Spartanburg District Five leaders, the protocols will be in place for the remainder of the season at Byrnes High School to assure fans have fun and stay safe.