WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- Purdue's first football game of the season is bringing lessons for law enforcement.
This Saturday's game is helping them learn and adjust to operations with the university's Covid-19 safety restrictions.
News 18 took a ride with Purdue University Police Sergeant Nick Crosby to get insight into their preparation for the game.
Sergeant Crosby is heading into his fourth football season as the PUPD's head of Administrative Services. His role requires overseeing law enforcement operations on game day. This year it comes with a new sense of pressure.
"It's always in the back of my mind, what am I forgetting? Especially with being in charge of the logistics of barricades, signboards, cones, just trying to think as I'm driving around going okay, did I miss a location that I should have put something," said Crosby.
Now with Covid-19 safety measures in place, the big concern for Sgt. Crosby this year is making sure people can navigate the new parking restrictions and follow the no tailgating rule.
He said law enforcement will only take action against people who are in clear violation of the university's football safety guidelines or if Purdue Athletics leaders contact them to enforce a situation. Fans refusing to follow the stadium mask rules or people gathering for unauthorized public tailgating could be subject to getting in trouble for trespassing if they are asked to leave and refuse after not complying with the rules.
"On game day, when they do the announced attendance for Ross-Ade Stadium, they may say 57,000 people in attendance but that doesn't count the 10,000 to 20,000 that are just in the tailgating lot that have no intention of going to the game," said Crosby.
Sgt. Crosby said a normal football Saturday could bring out more than 100,000 people gathering across campus.
This year, in addition to no on-campus unauthorized tailgating, Purdue's athletic department is also only allowing 1,000 fans in the stands.
"The traditional game day, we would have anywhere around 150 to 160 police officers," said Crosby. "Today we'll be 33 officers plus some other staff."
Even with less officers to oversee this year, it's been a busy first game day . Sgt. Crosby plans to take lessons learned from this Saturday and adjust future operations accordingly. His big hope is that fans understand the privilege of having this game season and act responsibly.
"About a month ago this season wasn't even going to happen so we're just hoping that people would comply," said Crosby. "Just be glad the season is happening."
The entire list of Purdue's game day safety changes can be found here.