Kennywood Park officials release new security measures for first weekend open since triple shooting

WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. — Kennywood Park has unveiled new security measures for the first weekend the park is open again after Saturday’s shooting.

In a release from park officials, the new security measures are as follows:

  • Increased Police Support: In addition to our security team, we are doubling the number of police officers contracted through local law enforcement agencies for each night of Phantom Fall Fest. There will be a more visible police presence at the entrance and throughout the park. Kennywood leadership will be more clearly visible in uniform red jackets, as well.
  • Perimeter Enhancements: Park teams have cut down trees along the fence line bordering Route 837 to improve sight lines. New flood lights and security cameras are being installed for better monitoring, and ongoing security patrols in that area will increase significantly.
  • Chaperone Policy Updates: Guests age 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult at least 21 years of age (with valid ID) to enter the park at all times during Phantom Fall Fest.
  • Park Entrance Policies: With the weapons detection system working as designed since its installation this spring, the park’s prior screening system has been removed to eliminate guest confusion. New signage is being installed to inform guests they are entering a security screening area. Though the new system is able to screen bags and individuals via cameras and metal detection to identify those in need of further inspection, we will implement additional spot checking of bags as a precautionary measure.
  • New Bag Policy: Only bags within the dimensions of 8″ x 5″ x 1″, as well as medical and diaper bags, are permitted.
  • Facial Coverings: Masks that cover some or all of a person’s face are not permitted to be worn by any guest after 6 p.m. The only exceptions are surgical masks or N95/KN95 masks as recommended as a precaution against COVID-19. If masks of this nature are worn, they must be free from additional coverings including but not limited to fake blood, makeup or coloring.

Kennywood park officials also released the following statement:

The Kennywood team keeps those injured Saturday in our thoughts. As we prepare to open this weekend, please know we are fully committed to enhancing our operations to allow guests to enjoy a safe, fun experience. We will continue consulting with law enforcement on additional safety measures to implement. We thank the Allegheny County and West Mifflin Police Departments, our Team Members, and our Guests for the continued support.

In a press conference, Kennywood Park general manager Mark Pauls said there was weapons detection is effect on Saturday night and that the fence line was being patrolled by police and security. They also said they don’t know how the gun got in to the park and won’t know until the investigation ends.

An official from Kennywood’s security system, Evolv, also gave a demonstration of how people walk through. He said when someone walks through the system with a weapon, lights go off and a photo is sent to a tablet.

Park officials said there was no security glitch on the night of the shooting. Metal detectors have been removed so there’s no confusion going forward and they are used as a back up plan. Officials also said they have no concerns about the security system.

Officials said the park will be evaluating security procedures and making changes, stating “we’ll learn so much from this.”

Pauls also said that in response to the shooting, there will be twice the number of police officers on site and all leadership will be wearing red coats. Trees near the fence line will be cut down and lights will be added. Police will also be patrolling the fence line and the park will be staffing it as well.

Officials said Kennywood officers don’t carry weapons but police do.

Confidential security is also being put in place.

More cameras will be added to the park and the new chaperone policy will go into effect at noon, officials said. The chaperone policy includes signing your name if you have more than four kids with you.

If someone wants to wear a face mask to the park, they must wear a surgical mask.

If someone wants to bring a bag, it must be the size of a clutch purse, 5 X 8 X 1 to be precise.

At this point, park officials said they were providing counseling for team members and are in the process of returning items left behind to the people they belong to.

Channel 11′s Gabriella DeLuca will be live on 11 News at Noon breaking down the new system and what it means for park visitors.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Kennywood Park officials are set to reveal what they are calling a “comprehensive” update after Saturday’s shooting on Wednesday morning.

Officials told Channel 11 they will recap security in place that night, including the weapons detection system that screened all entrants at the front gate.

Representatives from the company that runs the park’s new security system, Evolv, will demonstrate the security system.

The park also plans to share new and enhanced measures being implemented before this weekend.

This update comes after police and EMS swarmed Kennywood late Saturday night after 39-year-old Brandon Ward and two 15-year-olds were shot inside the park.

PHOTOS: Police swarm Kennywood Park after multiple people shot inside park

Investigators and park officials have not confirmed whether the gunman was able to bypass the new security system when he entered the park with a gun.

Police told 11 News Monday that they are investigating the possibility of whether someone jumped the fence or passed the gun through it.

Stay with Channel 11 as we bring you updates from officials on Wednesday, both on-air and online.


Download the FREE WPXI News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Channel 11 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch WPXI NOW