Earlier this year, the National Football League instituted their obnoxious “clear bag” policy, which in the wake of the Boston terrorist attacks banned all backpacks from the stadiums and forced fans to bring all their goodies into the stadium in a clear plastic bag. Now, according to an internal memo from the Cleveland Police Department, there is a new NFL policy which bans off-duty police officers from carrying guns into the stadiums. According to the memo, “[o]ff-duty officers who attempt to bring firearms into an NFL facility will be denied entry. An armed officer will only be allowed inside a league facility if they are working an NFL game or event in an official capacity.”
From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Jeff Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, said the policy is “disappointing.”
“We are police officers 24/7,” Follmer said. “I don’t know why anyone would want to disarm a police officer.”
While this does make the NFL’s policy against guns in the stadium consistent across the board, one has to wonder why the NFL wants to disarm law-enforcement officers? While you could make the case that NFL fans in some areas are just knuckle-dragging animals (Philly and Oakland come to mind immediately), but the idea that disarming off-duty LEOs is going to make anyone at the games safer is just foolish. I don’t believe that a LEO has special super-powers that make them better at carrying a gun than a dedicated citizen, but I do believe that a cop certainly has legal powers and training that the average citizen doesn’t have.
For the NFL to ban off-duty cops from carrying one of the essential tools of their trade into football stadiums displays the league’s increasing tone-deafness when dealing with the fans and supporters of the league. Sorry off-duty cops, but if you were trained to be a cop 24/7 and carry a weapon at all times, you’re not welcome in NFL stadiums.