War Memorial Stadium is upgrading its security with new metal detectors after false reports of gunfire led to thousands fleeing a high school football game in August.
There will be 18 new metal detectors installed throughout the stadium at a reported cost of approximately $60,000. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has authorized the purchase and installation of the metal detectors by using discretionary funds, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Officials at the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, which manages the facility, have announced a clear bag policy for all athletic events and a ban on loitering at the stadium.
Earlier in the year, the Southeastern Conference announced that school athletic venues will be required to install metal detectors by fall of 2020. War Memorial Stadium’s metal detectors are projected to be installed before the Arkansas Razorbacks’ game against the Ole Miss on Oct. 13.
During the annual Salt Bowl, a high school football game, thousands of patrons fled the stadium after rumors of a gun threat circulated through the stands. Approximately 38,000 patrons were present at the stadium during the game, which was held Aug. 25.
Multiple injuries were reported as a result of the stampede.
While the incident is still under investigation, officials have said the likely cause of the rumor was metal barricades falling or a stun gun discharging, which sound similar to gunfire. Security officers confiscated a stun gun that was fired twice, and the sound of the stun gun dry-firing could have been mistaken for a gunshot, according to a Parks and Tourism spokesperson.