DENVER — One year ago, on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, we took an in-depth look at security inside Colorado’s public venues.
We snuck a fake hand gun and a real pistol inside Mile High Stadium, Pepsi Center, Coors Field and our State Capitol.
Following our story, officials at the Pepsi Center, Coors Field and the Colorado State Capitol vowed to make improvements.
Mile High took immediate action and required every football fan to pass through metal detecting wands.
But is security any better?
We spent the past four months putting them to the test again.
This time, I hid a fake metal gun in my purse, and local firearms instructor and concealed weapons permit holder, “Regis,” packed a pistol in his waistband.
At Coors Field, security looked in my bag but missed the fake gun in the side pocket.
While Regis and his real gun walked right in, “As you can see I still have the revolver on me. No questions asked,” he said.
A spokesperson for Coors Field sent us this statement: ”In addition to our own internal procedures, we’re in constant contact with local, state and federal agencies to review and improve our overall safety and security measures. We will continue to implement appropriate steps to ensure safety and security at the ballpark.”
Next I took my fake weapon to an event at the Pepsi Center. Security asked to look in my bag, but the glance is so quick she doesn’t see anything.
A Pepsi Center spokesperson told us they had made several security changes in the last year, “Such as increasing the number of games security uses metal detector wands … adding additional security cameras and introducing new ‘See Something, Say Something’ signage around the arena … emphasizing the most important safety feature this state and nation has – the law abiding citizens.”
We thought the State Capitol would have improved security, especially after Governor Hickenlooper expressed concern over the lapses we exposed last year.
But once again, I easily avoided the main floor metal detector and slipped my weapon in through a side door.
We asked the head of Capitol security, State Patrol Capt. John Hahn, to watch our video. “Do I wish you would not have been able to do that? Absolutely,” he said.
But Hahn told us keeping the building secure and open to the public is a difficult balancing act. “The one way of approaching that is to secure every entrance to the building, to post a State Trooper on every entrance to the building but that flies in the face of what this building is about.”
With the new metal detecting wands in place at Mile High Stadium, Regis and I expected to get caught.
That’s why he put his gun near a large metal belt buckle.
I go in first, security feels my bag but misses the big, bulky fake gun. Security swipes my body with the metal wand, but does not scan my purse.
Then Regis is swiped from head to toe and the wand detects nothing. “I have a pretty big belt buckle on too and it didn’t go off, so maybe they need to check that wand,” he said.
Mile Highs Stadium’s management company sent us this statement: “Our comprehensive security measures, which meet all NFL guidelines, are continuously reviewed and refined to ensure the highest level of integrity … we are extremely thorough in monitoring the quality of our security operation and seek to identify all opportunities to improve.”