ORCHARD PARK, NY (WKBW) - In an effort to help make Ralph Wilson Stadium more family friendly, a new security agreement calls for an additional 128 Erie County Sheriff's Deputies to help maintain order and safety during Buffalo Bills home games. According to county officials the Buffalo Bills would pay for the added security, which is estimated around $400,000 yearly. This security measure is part of the new Bills lease agreement.
"It's really no secret the Bills want to attract more families," said Deputy Erie County Executive Richard Tobe. "The best memories are created when children go to the games with their parents but there have been times at the games where it has not been ideal."
The additional deputies will be stationed at gate entrances, inside the stadium and on the field.
"The county is responsible for traffic control. It always has been," added Tobe. "We currently provide 90 patrols including mounted patrols and the helicopter. We'll continue to pay for that but the Bills will pay for the additional 128 deputies."
Undersheriff Mark Wipperman says the department has an extensive list of trained officers that be will be ready for the first Buffalo Bills game and it will far exceed the required 218. Wipperman says it may be necessary to reach out to other agencies for help.
"We understand that some officers may not be able to commit to the full football season and a few others may call in sick due to illness or injury," said Wipperman in a statement. "The remaining spots on the list will include some criminal deputies from surrounding counties and police officers from various Erie County police agencies. We will utilize them to fill any remaining vacancies. We don't anticipate any problems and we have already started working on this security project."
Late Monday night the NFL approved the new 10-year, $270 million Buffalo Bills lease agreement. The state is expected to vote on the item tomorrow morning and it will come up for a vote within the Erie County Legislature on Thursday.