Det. Dave Isabell is one of many officers directing traffic — both vehicle and pedestrian — as fans make their way around the area for the game. Regular visitors will often see Isabell at the intersection of Shaw and Chestnut.
“Thousands of people come to campus from both in and out of town to watch our Spartans play,” says Isabell. “It’s important that we keep traffic under control, which is something I enjoy leading on game days.”
All the vehicle traffic means lots of parking needs. Nicole Ziegler is part of MSU’s Parking Unit and leads game-day parking operations. She stays in touch with the MSU Emergency Operations Center to provide visitors with regular updates to ensure the experience is as smooth and efficient as possible.
“Getting Spartans and visitors parked safely is such a big part of game day,” says Ziegler. “We sometimes have more than 10,000 cars on campus at once. We strive to make this process as seamless as possible so everyone can enjoy the game.”
Communications Manager Dana Whyte spends game day at the MSU Emergency Operations Center sending out information through the university’s mass notification system and social media channels.
“We want to make sure that everyone stays informed on game day, whether that’s related to traffic, parking, weather or even the Spartan Stadium bag policy,” says Whyte. “We send messages out on different platforms with the purpose of meeting people where they are.”
Lt. Brandon Murphy oversees all police officers assigned in and around Spartan Stadium — both MSU and partner agencies who help the university on game days. Other agencies who assist include the East Lansing Police Department, Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, Meridian Township Police Department, Michigan State Police and Williamston Police Department.
“Game days should be an enjoyable experience for everyone,” says Murphy. “For the most part, we go unnoticed, which is great because it means there wasn’t an issue. Still, we want people to feel comfortable approaching us for any help they may need.”
Deputy Chief Andrea Munford serves as the leader of the command post at the MSU Emergency Operations Center. Munford is aware of the locations of all MSU officers as well as members of partnering agencies. With the number of visitors to the area, it is important that all the police officers stay in contact and are ready to assist as needed.
“We want to make sure that everyone is on the same page, no matter what police department or organization you’re coming from,” says Munford. “From our newest officer to those who have served for decades, on game day we’re all on one team to keep fans safe.”
From the Spartan Stadium tower, Assistant Chief Doug Monette has a bird's-eye view of the surrounding area. He coordinates with Munford and the officers on the ground to enhance visitor safety.
“We work hard to ensure that we are available as a resource to not only our Spartans but our visitors as well,” says Monette.
Throughout the day, Vice President for Public Safety and Chief of Police Marlon Lynch checks in with officers as he leads the entire game-day operation.
“From in front to behind the scenes, our employees are all around campus making sure our community and visitors have a safe game-day experience,” says Lynch. “Our goal is to make sure game day is enjoyable for everyone, and we’re proud to be able to serve the Spartan community in this way.”
The MSU K9 Unit is sometimes as popular as the student-athletes. But please don’t pet; Sgt. Adam Atkinson and K9 Cora are on the job. MSU’s unit has a combined 45 years of K9 experience and provides search, detection and protection services both on campus and in the surrounding community.
“Being a part of the K9 Unit is very rewarding,” says Atkinson. “I have been a handler for 12 years and no day is exactly the same. Making sure the stadium is safe before every game is something we take pride in. Cora enjoys it, too!”
Greencoat Supervisor Annie Kovach (center) is one of the police department’s student employees. Greencoats, who are generally part-time employees, serve vital roles on game days such as screening fans at gates for prohibited items, providing leadership and direction during emergencies and monitoring secure areas.
“Serving as a greencoat supervisor is rewarding because I’m able to connect with fans one-on-one while also working to keep them safe,” said Kovach. “We want people to know that we are available as a resource and stand ready to help.”
Det. Jerry Roudebush is in charge of providing security near the MSU football team bench. There is also an officer stationed near the visitor bench to ensure the teams stay safe during the game.
“Getting to work on the field of Spartan Stadium is not only a unique and rewarding job, but also an important one,” says Roudebush. “Our officers down here are always ready to take the lead in case there is a situation.”
Mary Cate Heberlein is a police cadet. Cadets serve at the central hub in the department’s main building on Red Cedar Road. Every day, they field phone calls and assist walk-in visitors. That is especially important on game days that bring many people who may be new to campus.
“As a cadet, I’m sometimes the first person community members connect with when they enter the department,” says Heberlein. “I love being able to help others while also serving our campus.”