Before new gun restrictions even had a chance to go in effect nationally, CenturyLink Field off-duty officers are already finding themselves disarmed.
Management at the facility claim that there’s already plenty of uniformed officers at the event, so there’s no need for additional, armed officers.
As KOMO News reported, the changes aren’t sitting well with law enforcement officials.
In a letter to law enforcement, CenturyLink’s general manager said the decision is in the best interest of public safety, writing, “We currently have an abundance of uniformed police officers working every event at the stadium and we feel that CenturyLink Field is perhaps one of the safest venues …”
That explanation isn’t good enough for Wickman.
“The reality is you can have all the uniformed officers you want, but the criminals will be able to identify them and avoid the areas where they are,” he said.
The change comes after two unarmed and off-duty Bellevue Police officers were kicked out of the stadium last season for unruly behavior.
Though the unruly behavior had nothing to do with firearms, the organization decided to cite it as their main reason for the weapon ban. One in particular, called the policy “misguided” and “insulting.”
The president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild said the policy is “misguided” and “insulting.” He said department policy allows officers to use their discretion when to carry while off duty.
“From the moment we graduate the academy we have the tools we need to make those decisions and take action if necessary, and all of us — without exception — hope we never ever have to do that, but we need to be ready if it happens and when it happens,” Wickman said.