The Orchard Park police could soon be patrolling the grass lots surrounding Ralph Wilson Stadium frequented by fans at Buffalo Bills games. While law enforcement have been in the stadium lots and directing traffic for years, a new mandate is being considered by the Town of Orchard Park in response to terror threats and poor fan behavior.
Private tailgating lots are licensed by the town. At the Town Board meeting last Wednesday, Orchard Park officials debated adding a provision to each perfmit allowing unannounced police access during times when fans are tailgating. For most of the lots, that means homeowners would be waiving their constitutional right against search and seizure in the name of public safety, at least for a few hours.
While the threat of terrorism was the biggest concern expressed, fan behavior in private lots has been the subject of much scrutiny from local and national media as well as the team, highlighted by many tables being busted and fans lighting themselves on fire.
“The issue is public safety,” Orchard Park Town Supervisor Patrick J. Keem said. “Unfortunately in our society in general, there have been some breakdowns in behavior.”
No decision has been made at this point as the board studies the proposal and receives feedback from law enforcement.