Florida football: A look at law enforcement's behind-the-scene role on game day – SECcountry.com
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The No. 24 Florida Gators will play their first home game of the season on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET when they host the No. 23 Tennessee Volunteers to open SEC play.
But there’s more to hosting a football game than a 3- to 4-hour showdown on the field between two teams.
According to Florida’s University Athletic Association, an average Florida football game requires more than 3,300 working personnel spanning 17 government agencies and outside vendors.
This includes the employment of first responders from the UF Police Department, Gainesville Police Department, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Highway Patrol and Gainesville Fire Rescue, among others.
“We’re a relatively safe community, but we’re also a caring community,” Gainesville Police Department Lt. Joe Raulerson said Friday. “We obviously want everybody who’s coming into town and the residents that live in town to be as safe as possible and really enjoy the atmosphere of the game.”
Early this week, there were doubts as to whether the game would be played in Gainesville after Hurricane Irma made its way through the state, resulting in 26 deaths in Florida and causing massive power outages, property damage and flooding.
The Gators had previously canceled their original home opener against Northern Colorado on Sept. 9 because of the impending threat of Irma to allow the first responders and other government agencies to make necessary preparations for the storm. Athletic director Scott Stricklin said after meeting with school and city officials throughout the week that it was “the wise and prudent thing to do” in order to ensure safety for all parties involved.
While the aftermath of Irma can still be felt, Gainesville and the Florida Gators are attempting to get back to a semblance of normality.
But in order for that to happen, a lot