SAN DIEGO -- They're sports fans, and soft targets: unarmed and defenseless against shooters and terrorists. It's a risk tens of thousands of Chargers fans take on Sundays when they pack into Qualcomm Stadium.
This Sunday, security will be tight at Qualcomm when the Broncos come to town, but San Diegan Roger Mayberry said the NFL should do more. Mayberry wants the league to let off-duty cops carry concealed weapons into games.
A former sheriff's lieutenant, Mayberry is one of eight executives of the National Fraternal Order of Police. The organization represents more than 300,000 officers in the U.S. After last month's Paris terrorist attacks, his board asked the NFL to change its rules in case a shooter emerges from the crowd.
"What may happen if you have an off duty peace officer, or retired peace officer that is trained, he may be able to stop them from killing one or more, or maybe even stop them from killing anyone at all,” Mayberry said.
Getting into a Charger game is a process: First, fans put all their personal items in a clear plastic bag, then empty their pockets, and finally go to a guard with a security wand.
Chargers season ticket holder Johnny Abundez s feels safe at games and argues that armed, off-duty officers won't mix well with so many other people around them drinking.
"We want law enforcement to be visible,” Abundez said. “If you want to add more officers, add them with uniforms on.”
In a statement, the NFL stood behind its security policy, which utilizes both uniformed and undercover officers in and out of the stadium. The league counters that the risk with armed, off-duty officers is that they won’t be known to those who are in uniform and on patrol.
Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos is nearly sold out.