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'One of the unfortunate ways of the world': Fargodome installs $150,000 worth of metal detectors, wands

Metal detectors stand Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, at the Fargodome. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

FARGO — More than two dozen walk-through metal detectors have been installed at the Fargodome and staff are now undergoing training as part of a security upgrade, the dome's executive director, Rob Sobolik, said Monday, Jan. 29.

Sobolik said the detectors won't be used for the Monster Jam monster truck show this Friday and Saturday. However, the detectors could be ready for the Avenged Sevenfold and Breaking Benjamin rock concert Feb. 11, though the effective date has not been settled yet.

"We're still in the preliminary process," he said.

Sobolik said it cost $150,000 to buy and install 27 to 28 walk-through detectors and portable wands. The money came from the Fargodome's surplus fund, which is used for capital expenses.

Sobolik said 10 of the walk-through detectors are installed in the east-side main lobby ticketing area, with the rest distributed between the dome's north, south and west doors.

Sobolik said the dome has an obligation to ensure the security of events for the public, employees and entertainers. "Some promoters out there are requiring it for certain concerts or types of events," he said.

"It's probably one of the unfortunate ways of the world" that the entertainment business now needs "some sort of enhanced detection" for people to go through before entering a venue, he said.

"Obviously, it doesn't guarantee anything, but definitely is a form of protection to help ensure the safety of the events," he said.

Using the detectors will likely slow entry into the dome, Sobolik said.

Small amounts of metal on a person, such as a money clip or car keys, will still allow fairly quick entry, but people with more metal on their bodies may have to be checked with a portable wand. Also, permitted bags — such as those for diapers or medical equipment — will have to be checked, Sobolik said.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including K-12 education, Fargo city government, criminal justice, and military affairs. He is currently one of The Forum's business reporters.

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