ST. LOUIS – Sen. Claire McCaskill on Wednesday asked the Department of Homeland Security to give "full consideration" to the St. Louis Cardinals' request for certification that would give the team certain legal protections in the event of a terrorist attack at Busch Stadium.
The Cardinals applied in July for DHS certification under the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act, known as the Safety Act. The act, which was passed soon after the 2001 terrorist attacks, is aimed at encouraging businesses to develop anti-terrorism technologies and practices. In return, the act places limits on lawsuits that could be filed if a terrorist attack occurs at their site.
"With recent terrorist attacks around the world on stadiums, concert venues, and other public spaces, it's more important than ever that we've got robust counterterrorism efforts in place," McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, wrote in a letter to acting Homeland Security director Elaine Duke.
Phil Melcher, director of security for the Cardinals, said that among the security upgrades would be background checks on all employees and vendors and the installation of barricades to prevent vehicles from ramming the stadium. He said the Safety Act application also requires tracking of metrics to prove the measures work.
Adhering to the requirements is costly, but worth it, Melcher said.
"When you're dealing with the potential (to host) 47,000 fans and another 2,500 employees, that's a great responsibility that we take seriously," Melcher said.
The attack on a concert in Las Vegas this month in which 58 people were killed raised new concerns about safety at entertainment and sports venues. And in May, 22 people died and 59 were injured after a suicide bombing occurred outside an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.
In 2012, Yankee Stadium became the first sports venue to be certified through the Safety Act. Several other sports franchises have followed, most recently the NFL's Tennessee Titans last month.