Police prepare for Patriots season opener game

By News Staff

Reporting by Rebecca Turco

rturco@abc6.com

It will be a big day for Patriots Nation this week with the season opener on Thursday.

In less than 24 hours, seats will be packed and police officers will be out in full force to keep rowdy fans in line.

After years of practice, crowd control at Patriot games is down to a science for the Foxboro Police Department.

"We have a format for crowds of that size," says Chief Edward O’Leary.

17 different police agencies, as well as the Sheriff’s Department, are working together to help handle the 67,000 people in the stands.

"We spend a lot of time making sure that our entry points to the stadium are secure, that we have coverage at different areas within the building," O’Leary explains.

Safety is their prime concern, especially reigning the drunk and disorderly. Last season, around 25 fans were arrested per game, most of them from binge drinking.

"Tailgating prior to a game very often sets the stage for fan behavior," says O’Leary.

If things get out of hand, the Patriots Group will suspend, or even revoke, season ticket holders. They just want fans to enjoy the game now that Deflategate is behind them.

"We’re excited to kick off the season, finally get back to football, finally get back to talking about football, and just enjoying what we hope will be another great season," says Stacey James, Vice President of Media Relations.

The banner raising will take place at 8:30 p.m., and the parking lots at Gillette will be open at 4:30 p.m.

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