PNC Arena speeds up plans for bomb-sniffing K9s
PNC Arena officials said Monday that the venue has hired a Southern Pines firm to provide bomb-sniffing dogs for all major public sports and entertainment events.
The partnership between the arena and K2 Solutions Inc. will start Tuesday, when New Kids on the Block, Paula Abdul and Boyz II Men perform at PNC.
K9 teams will search the arena property and interact with people as they enter and exit the venue, arena President Don Waddell said.
“Our guest experience is our utmost priority,” Waddell said in a statement. “The canine teams will enhance our safety and security measures already in place and help ensure guests feel safe while attending events at PNC Arena.”
K2 will use Labrador retrievers and other family-friendly breeds trained to detect the chemical scent of explosives on a moving person. Waddell said he doesn’t expect that they’ll slow down the flow of people into and out of the building.
Waddell said the move toward bomb-sniffing dogs began months ago, but was accelerated after the May bombing of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. That attack left 22 dead and 59 injured.
The dog teams will cost about $250,000 a year, he said, but that cost will not be passed along to consumers.
“We think this is something that we just need to do as part of our security forces here at the arena,” he said.
Waddell says the arena has beefed up security in other ways as well, adding more personnel, cameras and metal detectors.
Dogs were used at a May concert at PNC Arena in the days after the England bombing, and he said he expects the continued presence of the K9 teams will make people attending events feel safer.
“Like right now, you go through the airport, and they have dogs all the time in lines and so forth. You know, it makes you feel good that they’re trying to sniff out any potential issues,” he said. “For our customers coming in here, we want to make it a smooth process.”
What happened in Manchester at the Ariana Grande concert in May certainly had an effect on the decisions to start working the dogs now.
“A larger venue like this attracts thousands of customers every year, and we want to make it as safe and friendly an environment as we can,” Waddell said.