UCF using chemical sensors, FBI to keep students safe at spring game

Chief promises to do something if students see something, say something

By Erik von Ancken - Anchor/Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - University of Central Florida police will place small chemical sensors out of sight in and around the school's Spectrum Stadium on Saturday to protect the estimated 10,000 people expected to attend the spring football game.

The sensors will monitor the air quality for any kind of chemical weapons attack.

UCF police Chief Richard Beary also said officers will be stationed at every entrance, cameras will cover every inch of the stadium and access routes will change.

An FBI joint counterterrorism task force member will also be present.

Beary said the precautions are standard at every UCF football game.

"We have to be on alert all the time, that's just how our model (is)," Beary said. "So we know some people are apprehensive of large crowds but we want them to know we put the time, the money, the resources in and the extra people making sure they're safe."

The spring game is the first since former UCF coach Scott Frost left the university and was replaced by Josh Heupel.

It's also the first since the Parkland school shooting.

At a news conference Tuesday morning on the turf of UCF's Spectrum Stadium, Beary urged students to "see something, say something" at Saturday's spring football game.

His backdrop was a newly wrapped patrol car, showcasing a UCF football player and the words "National Champions."

"Look, the world we live in now is a dangerous place," Beary said. "So we all have a part -- if you see something, say something, and I can promise you this: If you notify the UCF police department about something that doesn't look right, we'll check it out and make sure we're good to go."

"See something, say something" has become a law enforcement catchphrase, but Beary said he understood that some have lost confidence in the phrase and in law enforcement after the Parkland school shooting.

The investigation into the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida revealed that several people did see and say something about the suspected shooter's disturbing behavior before the shooting but law enforcement didn't do enough to prevent the shooter.

"That happened and I don't know all the details but I know how we operate here at UCF," Beary said. "We track down every lead possible. Plus, we've had some good changes that allow us to do things we couldn't do previous the Parkland shooting."

After Florida lawmakers tightened gun laws, Beary worked with Orlando police to file a newly created "risk protection order" against a UCF student who talked of shooting up an Orange County school. The order temporarily took away the student's firearms.

In March, Beary worked with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to have an international student deported to China after investigators noticed a "dramatic change" in the student's behavior and appearance and learned he had bought a second sniper rifle.

Beary also recently dedicated two detectives to investigating threats and tracking suspicious students.

"I think you need to give us a chance and need to look at our track record," Beary said. "You also have to understand that because of the things that have happened, law enforcement is more attuned now than it has been in decades following up on those things."

Beary retires from UCF police in June after 11 years with the department. His successor has not been named.

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