ST. LOUIS – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri is pushing for new legal protection for Busch Stadium, in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre.
The St. Louis Cardinals have drawn national acclaim for security measures in recent years, including their purchase of “vapor wake” police dogs which can sniff out threats by the vapors they in their wake, like airborne traces of explosives.
“Instead of just sniffing stationary points when you clear a facility, they’re actually walking around in a crowd,” said Cardinals Team President, Bill DeWitt III. “Once they hit on a vapor of somebody that might have had something on them, they follow the vapor until the find the source of that threat.”
The Cardinals donated the dogs for police use beyond the ballpark.
The team has spent millions on security innovations seen and unseen and on the cumbersome application process for a SAFETY Act (Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies) designation from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
McCaskill, the ranking member of the senate committee that oversees homeland security, decided to publicly praise the Cardinals and push the department to grant the designation.
“Staying safe in large public spaces is on the minds of many Americans right now. I’m proud of the St. Louis Cardinals for being so proactive in protecting their employees and fans,” McCaskill in a video statement.
“There’s really no category of security we haven’t taken to another level in the last couple of years,” DeWitt said. “When you think about every type of threat that may be out there that obviously read about in the news recently, our security team is thinking about those, and working with authorities to be at the cutting edge.”
The designation sets a liability cap against the team for damages in the event of an attack but the Cardinals insist that’s not the primary motive and the cap hardly makes all the security advancements worth the investment.
“More importantly we wanted to do this for our fans, the safety of our fans,” DeWitt said.
The Safety Act was passed in 2002 in the wake of the 911 Attacks but applying it to stadiums is relatively new. NFL teams including the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans have gotten five-year designations. The Cardinals would be the first Major League Baseball team in the Midwest to get it. DeWitt hopes to do so by the start of next season.