GPD to aid in Auburn University football detail

Published 5:55 pm Friday, August 5, 2016

Greenville Police Department officers will have a better view than most of Jordan-Hare Stadium this fall as the agency his signed on to aid the City of Auburn in policing the venue.

But it won’t be all fun and games, according to GPD Chief Lonzo Ingram.

“It takes a great deal of personnel to work those football games at the collegiate level when you have 100,000 people in the stands,” Ingram said. “That’s a lot of security and traffic direction involved.

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“This is the first time we’ve participated in this, but I think our guys are looking forward to it.  Of course, with anything like that, you have to make sure that the extra work they do there doesn’t impact us here as far as personnel goes.  But we’ll make sure that doesn’t happen.”

GPD Captain Justin Lovvorn will be handling the detail, which will send GPD officers to Auburn for every home game this season.

During this year’s Peace Officers Association Conference in June, Lovvorn met with other larger agencies that were also aiding in the detail at Jordan-Hare, as well as Auburn Community and Special Services Assistant Chief William Matthews, who presides over the entire detail.

“I just started a conversation with him and told him that we have several officers in our department who were interested in working a detail like that,” Lovvorn said. “After about a month or two of talking about it, we worked out a plan to allow our officers to take an oath of office with the City of Auburn.  That allows us to have arrest power and regular police powers in their jurisdiction.”

Once that was done, it was just a matter of scheduling time for the GPD officers to work.  The City of Auburn pays for the hours the officers work, whether they be spent directing traffic or working the game itself.  A check will be sent to each officer within 10 days of the worked detail, according to the time put in.

Ingram added that the experience would provide more than a monetary benefit to the officers.

“Just the number of people that will be there, and dealing with them from a security standpoint, will be an excellent training tool for our people who go up there,” Ingram said.

According to Lovvorn, the daunting undertaking is just one more step for the ever-evolving Greenville Police Department.

“We use our own discretion based on our experience and the laws of the state, which are the same everywhere,” Lovvorn said. “If someone needs to be arrested or ejected, then we make that decision on whatever post we’re working.

“When we go up there, it’ll be something that’s new to us this year, but it’s just our our Tactical team or SWAT team that goes off and competes at the state competition every year.  That was a pretty big undertaking at first, but the more we’ve gone it’s just become a regular thing that we do.  We’ve evolved from going to it and trying to survive to going to it and expecting to win.  I think it’ll be the same thing with this. Even though we’re not as big as some other departments, the guys we do have are just as well trained, if not better trained, and can do anything that any larger city department can do.  So that’s what we plan on doing up there.”