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ROSE BOWL: MIAMI (11-0) VS. NEBRASKA (11-1) / BCS TITLE
GAME--5 P.M., CHANNEL 7 | SECURITY

Waiting Game

Officials Warn: Arrive Early or Risk Missing Kickoff

January 03, 2002|STEVE HENSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

To those in the capacity crowd, security measures at the Rose Bowl today will not be noticeably different from the customary precautions at UCLA games since Sept. 11.

However, federal and local authorities have stepped up their preparation and the number of undercover law enforcement officers will be greatly increased.

The most frequent advice from officials is simply this: Arrive several hours early.

"We want this to be an enjoyable experience for all the fans, but we will take whatever measures are necessary to make sure the bowl championship is safe and secure," said Cmdr. Mary Schander of the Pasadena Police Department, adding that there have been no threats or reasons to believe spectators or players will be at risk.

Among the precautions:

* Dogs capable of detecting explosives will canvass the stadium area before the game.

* Owners of motor homes parked in tailgating areas will be asked to report suspicious activity. Vehicles as well as individuals in tailgating areas will be subject to search.

* Spectators will be searched upon entering the stadium and will not be allowed to bring backpacks, coolers, large handbags or banners.

* Counter-terrorism specialists and FBI agents will be among the dozens of law enforcement officers working undercover. Cameras will monitor events inside and outside the Rose Bowl.

* The Federal Aviation Administration has declared the Rose Bowl a "no-fly zone" during the game. A blimp and law enforcement helicopters will be the only aircraft allowed over the Rose Bowl.

* A large stockpile of medical supplies and decontamination equipment are on hand.

Amid all the precautions, the primary concern is with traffic because the game is scheduled on a weekday at 5 p.m., the height of the evening rush hour, and will be attended by thousands who have never been to the Rose Bowl.

"People should allow time," Schander said. "Charter bus sales so far are significantly less than for other big games here. So it appears people will be driving cars to the game. We are encouraging fans to carpool and to arrive early."

Searches will be time-consuming and Schander said that anyone rolling in even 90 minutes before the game might miss kickoff.

"For the person who wants to enjoy the game, especially those who are not from the area, we are encouraging them to come to Pasadena for lunch, then take a shuttle to the Rose Bowl," she said.

"This is not the time for out-of-town fans to be navigating the freeways for the first time."

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