GREEN BAY — The Green Bay Packers weren’t the only ones busy at Lambeau Field on Saturday night, January 5th — so was the Green Bay Police Department. More than 20 people were arrested at the Packers vs. Vikings game — a record for this year.
Ahead of this game, the Packers announced it would be cutting off alcohol sales earlier than normal, and that staff and police would be on the lookout for misbehaving fans.
“Agencies who were covering that ahead of time had said that there wasn’t going to be any tolerance of any misconduct by fans at the game,” Lt. Jeff Engelbrecht said.
From shutting down alcohol sales earlier than usual to increased police presence, the Packers and Green Bay Police took a no-nonsense attitude towards keeping the cross-state rivalry safe, arresting 21 people. The number of those ejected from the game is not yet known.
“We try to make sure that those few that are bothering people and that are disrupters and not enhancing the experience for the fans that are there, make sure that they are removed from the game,” Lt. Engelbrecht said.
The number of problem fans is growing. According to numbers compiled from Green Bay Police Department reports, in the 2011 regular season and post season home games, more than 55 people were arrested (58) and 245 ejected.
In 2012, including Saturday’s game, more than 80 people were arrested (84). Through the regular season, nearly 250 people were ejected (248).
Saturday’s playoff game is first in arrests followed by regular season home Lions and Bears games. All were night games.
Engelbrecht says you can’t draw clear lines between the late starts and higher arrest and ejection numbers – but doesn’t deny the role it can play.
“People have the ability to be out all day, consuming alcohol before they got to the game, that probably played a factor in it,” Lt. Engelbrecht said.
The Green Bay Packers organization says it doesn’t wish to comment yet on the number of arrests or the correlation – if any – to the early cut off of alcohol sales. The Packers organization says the decision to increase security and limit alcohol sales had nothing to do with a post-game fight after the regular season Packers-Vikings game last month. The incident took place in a parking lot near Lambeau Field.
A Minnesota man was charged with felony battery and disorderly conduct.