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Old 08-13-2005, 01:19 AM   #1
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Default Fans to get the pat down at games

Before the first down Monday, there will be the pat-down.
The Steelers will open gates outside the Coca-Cola Great Hall and South Plaza at 5 p.m. Monday, three hours before the preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, to make time for a new security measure at Heinz Field: a full pat-down of every fan.

Gate C, for people with tickets to the seating bowl, club lounges and suites, will open at 6 p.m.

Last season, the gates opened two hours before the game.

No threats or incidents last year prompted the security change, said Steelers spokesman Dave Lockett. He doesn't think the new policy will make people feel uncomfortable.

"Hopefully, (the searches) will make them more comfortable, knowing we're doing more to ensure the safety of everybody," Lockett said.

He asked fans to show up earlier to make sure everyone has enough time to get through the security check.

National Football League spokesman Brian McCarthy said the Steelers franchise isn't the first to frisk fans.

"Security has been heightened across the league" since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, McCarthy said. He didn't know exactly how many teams pat people down. "We do it at the Super Bowl."

Lockett said the Steelers have frisked people in heavy coats before winter games that occurred after the terrorist attacks.

The Steelers announced yesterday they'll keep old restrictions, too. Thermoses, coolers, bags, backpacks and purses larger than 8.5 inches by 11 inches aren't allowed. Heinz Field security will allow small purses, fanny packs, small camera cases, binocular cases and diaper bags, all of which will be searched.
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