Jayda Hall // Sports Director
College football season has finally made its way back into the lives of sports fans in South Florida. And while fans cheer on their favorite teams from the stands, police officers work the grounds of the stadium, enforcing safety for everyone.
To the FIU Police Department, ensuring safety when thousands of college students, parents and children are involved is a top priority.
“In addition to the traditional security measures to make certain we have a secure environment, we also place a large focus on health and safety,” Chief Alexander Casas told Student Media. “We have Fire Rescue on site for most events and work hard to spot and intervene in any health related issues such as dehydration and heat exhaustion.”
These issues can happen anywhere, including tailgates where students and outsiders gather for food, drinks and loud music in the parking lot of the football stadium before kickoff.
“I understand that tailgating is a part of our sports culture,” Chief Casas said. “Believe it or not, one of the things I worry about the most is binge drinking and driving under the influence. As a University, I believe we do a lot to try to keep this from happening through education and intervention during the tailgates.”
Tailgates are public and open to everyone, including minors. With little supervision and access to alcohol without anyone checking for identification, this can become a worry. Chief Casas expressed that it’s safe for minors to attend tailgates, but it’s “important they do their part.”
In addition, FIU PD makes sure to perform bomb sweeps, bag checks, spotting and removing anyone who seeks to be disruptive before an incident grows serious.
“When I’m at FIU’s football games and tailgates, I never felt unsafe,” said FIU senior Kenley Jean Louis. “I’ve had a great time without the thought of being unsafe ever crossing my mind.”
The University also communicates with students before events are held to inform them about policies on prohibited items, tailgating rules and information on traffic and parking restrictions.
“The more informed our students [are], the better their planning will be and the better their experience will be,” said Chief Casas.