August 2, 2013

Intrust Bank Arena’s new security policy to start with Taylor Swift concert

Intrust Bank Arena doesn’t want you to be in trouble when you walk in to the Taylor Swift concert next week.

Intrust Bank Arena doesn’t want you to be in trouble when you walk in to the Taylor Swift concert next week.

The arena will begin screening concertgoers –– and attendees of all other events –– with handheld security wands starting with Swift’s concert Tuesday.

Arena general manager A.J. Boleski said nothing specific happened to spur the new security practice.

“We want to be sure our building is as safe as any building out there,” Boleski said Friday. “With the laws changing, we’re looking to further enhance our security.”

Although the arena always has banned guns and other weapons, Boleski said concealed-carry laws were a factor in instituting the new security measure.

The arena searches bags and will continue to do so, he said. Large bags such as duffel bags and backpacks are not allowed at the arena. Small purses and diaper bags are allowed but will be checked.

The arena warns concertgoers that they could experience “extended waiting periods” because of the new security measure.

“There’s always a bit of a learning curve on a new policy,” Boleski said.

The Sprint Center in Kansas City has used walk-through metal detectors and security wands since opening in 2007.

Shani Tate, director of marketing and communications at the Sprint Center, said bags there also are searched. She said it’s not uncommon for staff to find items such as stun guns and knives.

“You would be surprised at what people” don’t realize are considered weapons, she said.

She said wait times for events vary but “we feel it’s worth the extra time.”

Intrust Bank Arena will open doors to Swift’s concert at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. The show begins at 7 p.m.

“We do anticipate this being in place for all events,” including Wichita Thunder games, basketball games, children’s events and other performances, Boleski said. “It’s a best practice now days. We pride ourselves on hosting folks in our facility, and we want them to be safe and have a great experience while they’re here.”

Sedgwick County Manager William Buchanan said: “This was a decision made by SMG. We have nothing to do with it.”

SMG, for whom Boleski works, is under contract with the county to manage the arena.

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