- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 18, 2001

MCI Center officials yesterday finalized their heightened security plan for the arena, with patrons urged not to bring backpacks, briefcases or any other enclosed bags or luggage.
Fans will also see a greater uniformed police presence and more rigid inspection of personal belongings.
The downtown arena tonight will play host to the region's first major sporting event since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 when the Washington Capitals play the Philadelphia Flyers in a preseason game. The game was originally scheduled for last Saturday.
Abe Pollin, whose Washington Sports & Entertainment holds majority control in the nearly 4-year-old building, stopped short of implementing either fixed or portable metal detectors. But arena spokesman Matt Williams did not rule out further security measures if needed. Major League Baseball and the NFL also opted against mandating metal detectors in their security tightening.
MCI Center has been swept several times for bombs and other explosives in the past week by the FBI, and already uses video surveillance technology.
"We've deferred to the [Metropolitan Police Department], FBI, Secret Service and other authorities for guidance, and right now metal detectors were not deemed necessary," Williams said. "If we need to ramp up more, we will. We have used detectors in the past for presidential visits and the like. We have experience with these measures."
Williams declined to specify the number of additional security personnel. The guards will be a mixture of police and arena officers.
The Caps will also grant free admission to all local police and firemen to tonight's game. Free admission will additionally be given to police and fire crews for the Caps' preseason game Sept. 29 against Carolina.

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