Undercover police officers wearing opposing teams’ jerseys will be attending Seahawks games to weed out unruly and “violent” fans, the team and Seattle police said.
Beginning at Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle police officers will be placed throughout the stadium looking to bust fans that are drunk, harassing other spectators, throwing items on the field or engaging in “behavior that is unruly, disruptive or illegal,” according to a statement by the team.
“We have great fans,” said Seahawks President Peter McLoughlin. “Our goal is to ensure a safe environment for all in attendance, including visiting team fans.”
The effort follows similar undercover operations at other stadiums, police said, as well as an NFL-wide crackdown on safety that includes a recent ban on carrying purses and backpacks into stadiums.
“We expect a certain amount of banter between fans – that’s fine – our concern is when it goes beyond that. Fans becoming intoxicated, taunts that become threatening, or acts of violence that cross the line into criminal behavior,” said Mark Jamieson, spokesman for the Seattle Police Department.
Jamieson said wearing opposing team jerseys was not an effort to “bait anyone to misbehave.”
Police did not have an immediate accounting of crimes reported at CenturyLink Field, the Seahawks home turf. An investigation by local station KIRO-TV in January, found 25 cases of reported assaults at the stadium since January.