Task force teams, electronic security system introduced for UT home football games

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Photo Credit: Lauren Ibanez | Daily Texan Staff

Students who attended Saturday’s football game against the University of Kansas may have seen new measures designed to increase entrance efficiency and safety at home games.

Last week, Texas Athletics introduced a new electronic security system and the UT Police Department and Austin safety partners also formed rescue task force teams.

Texas Football is the first college athletics program in the country to partner with security system CLEAR, according to a press release. CLEAR is a secure identity company which allows fans to enter the stadium by scanning their fingerprint and their ticket instead of their IDs after signing up with CLEAR online, according to the release.

“We’re always looking for ways to enhance the fan experience at our athletics venues,” athletics director Chris Del Conte said in the release. “This partnership provides Longhorns fans with a convenient option that will certainly do that while making our stadium operations more efficient.” 

CLEAR entry pods are available at gate 25, but because students with the Big Ticket must enter through other designated gates, students with Big Tickets cannot use the CLEAR entry system, said John Bianco, associate athletics director of communications. Students without the Big Ticket can sign up for CLEAR online for free with their UT email, and non-students have to pay $179 per year to sign up, according to the release.

 

Environmental engineering freshman Sneha Sundar said she attended the Kansas game with a Big Ticket. She said it would be more efficient if Big Ticket holders could use the CLEAR system and if it were free for all fans. 

“I feel like there’s only a tiny population of students who go (to) every game that don’t have The Big Ticket because that’s much more expensive,” Sundar said. “Implementing (CLEAR for Big Ticket holders) would be better for everybody (without) having to pay for it, because paying for it … contradicts the whole purpose of it.”

UTPD is also partnering with Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services, the Austin Fire Department and the Austin Police Department to roll out rescue task force teams comprised of two police officers and two trained medics at large scale University events, including football games.

“The idea behind rescue task force is getting some tactically trained medical staff that are escorted by some of our … officers into any areas that are already threats during any active shooter or mass casualty incidents,” UTPD Lt. Eric Johanson said. “(The idea is) to get them on scene providing medical care sooner than a traditional EMS model would provide.”

In a traditional EMS model, Johanson said, EMS would be set a few blocks from a mass casualty incident site and would not go on site until after the threat passed and police cleared the scene. Kevin Parker, commander of special events for Austin-Travis County EMS, said rescue task force teams allow people to receive faster medical attention.

“Having those paramedics who are able to be there immediately … to provide that point of injury care when it’s needed but also to direct the incoming resources is super valuable to reduce the injury and death rates to these individuals,” Parker said.