MINNEAPOLIS — For years, U.S. Bank Stadium security during Minnesota Vikings games and big events had been overseen by ASM Global, and mostly staffed by off-duty MOD officers.
But with the number of sworn officers dwindling in recent years, ASM has had to get creative, and now, with just weeks before games kick off, it asked — and received — help from the Minneapolis Sports Facilities Authority to expand where it hires off-duty officers.
On Wednesday, the MSFA agreed to "to enter into one or more joint powers agreements with counties or cities to allow peace officers from those jurisdictions to provide law enforcement services at Stadium events."
Citing security reasons, neither the MSFA nor ASM elaborated on how many officers typically staff games, but MPD Commander Charlie Adams, who oversees off-duty hiring for the stadium, told the Star Tribune that they originally relied on roughly 100 off-duty MPD officers to work games. That number, however, fell to about 70 in recent years, and when MPD officers began seeing a large number of cops leave the force in 2020, off-duty Hennepin County Sheriff's deputies were added to help pick up some of the slack.
It's still unclear which surrounding cities or counties might be approached about additional staffing this year, but in a statement, officials with the MFSA said, "As is always the case, the MSFA will ensure all security requirements will continue to be met for all U.S. Bank Stadium events."
During a practice at U.S. Bank Stadium, Vikings owner Mark Wilf expressed support for the plan to expand the security search.
"From our standpoint, the safety of our fans is number one, and we feel good about the plan going forward so that if there are shortages in certain areas, we are going to be able to make sure that our experience, here at the game is safe, fun for families to come and enjoy the game," Wilf said.
Four events are scheduled at U.S. Bank Stadium in August, including a Vikings preseason game on Aug. 20 against the San Francisco 49ers.
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