Police ready for U2 concert

For the first time in more than a decade, Spartan Stadium will be hosting a concert event, leading many local police to stress the differences between this event and a typical football Saturday.

This Sunday, U2 will be making their long-anticipated trip to East Lansing to perform, and MSU police Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor emphasized for concertgoers to be aware of the area.

“Football fans are familiar with the university, they’re familiar with the ordinances and policies,” McGlothian-Taylor said. “Most of the people that are coming to this area (on Sunday) are unfamiliar with the university. I think it will be very important for people to come early.”

Because of the tens of thousands of people expected to be in attendance, the MSU police has teamed up with the Meridian Township, Ingham County and East Lansing police departments to make sure there aren’t any problems, McGlothian-Taylor said.

East Lansing police Capt. Kim Johnson estimated the department will have 25 officers working at major intersections to improve the flow of traffic, as well as inside the stadium itself.

The construction on campus is expected to make things difficult for commuters, with the closure of Harrison Road requiring travelers to use Exit 76 on US-127, Kalamazoo Street, and Exit 110 on I-96, Okemos Road, instead of Exit 9 on US-127, Trowbridge Road, McGlothian-Taylor said.

Finding a spot to park for football Saturdays often is difficult, and Johnson said the expectation shouldn’t be any different this Sunday.

“Parking is at a premium sometimes, but people find their way around and find legal places to park,” Johnson said. “People do park illegally, so we’ll have staff on hand to answer any calls.”

One option for concertgoers is to park for free in Lot 89, the commuter lot, located on the corner of Farm Lane and Mount Hope Road, and pay $5 to ride a shuttle to the stadium, McGlothian-Taylor said.

Assisting the officers at the arena will be 110 Greencoats, security volunteers who will aid in crowd management, said David Oslund, an MSU police officer currently assigned to the special events unit.

The Greencoats are asked to work any concert with more than 1,000 people attending, so Oslund doesn’t expect this event to be markedly different from other events they’ve covered.

“All the concerts at Breslin (Center) over the last 15 years have had Greencoats at them,” Oslund said. “The biggest new policy we have is that there’s no bags allowed in the arena, and that’s from a security and safety standpoint.”

Though fans are allowed to bring water bottles to MSU football games, in compliance with Live Nation Entertainment Inc. policy, water bottles, or bottles of any sort, will not be allowed into the arena, McGlothian-Taylor said.

The East Lansing Police Department recognizes that, because of the nature of the event, it’s likely loud music and noise will be affecting people in the city. Instead of calling the police, Johnson asked citizens to exercise patience.

“We’re expecting some noise complaints, just from the concert itself, so we’re asking people to be patient,” he said. “Enjoy the opportunity we have for a concert to come to this community, which is good for us.”